Move over, expensive gifts. The secret to a happy marriage is priceless -- just four hugs a day, says a new study.
According to the study, spending at least 22 periods of "quality time" with your spouse every month, such as going for a short stroll or sharing a romantic dinner, are also key to maintaining a healthy relationship.
Researchers have based their findings on a poll of 4,000 couples who were asked to describe themselves as "happy" or "very happy" to estimate how much time they spend together in an effort to work out the secret of their success.
Analysis of their responses revealed that the couples looking for happiness should spend at least seven evenings in together every month with two proper dinner dates, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Other important elements included two romantic walks a month and at least one visit to a pub or theatre without the children or other friends, the study found.
The couples also recommended that husbands should give their wife flowers or another gift at least once a month. But they also advised people to spend at least one evening away from their partner a month.
Educational psychologist Ludwig Lowenstein said: "Affection, cuddles and romantic gestures are part of a whole romantic scene desired by those entering a relationship.
"They are the safe gestures which say 'I like you, I am glad to be with you, I like and appreciate your support and care'. In this busy world, we often take our partners for granted whilst we get on with our daily struggles of work and rearing a family.
"We tend to forget the importance of hugs when familiarity becomes part of our lives, and as the saying goes 'familiarity breeds contempt'."