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Study: Childless couples happier together than those with kids

Friday - 1/17/2014, 4:57am  ET

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Mothers were less satisfied with their relationships with their partners than fathers or childless women, according to the study. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - A new study out of England finds that couples without children are more content with their relationship and partner than married parents are.

The study results released by The Open University found that mothers were less satisfied with their relationships with their partners than fathers or childless women. Mothers say they find the most joy and satisfaction from their children, not their partners.

In comparison, "Fathers are much more likely than mothers to regard their partners as the most important person," according to the study.

Parents, especially heterosexual parents, spend less time nurturing their relationships than couples without children. They spend less "couple time" and are less likely to pursue common interests, say "I love you" or communicate openly, the study found.

The study surveyed almost 5,000 adults in the U.K. and interviewed 50 couples to learn what it takes to make a relationship last in the 21st century. Simple acts such as saying "thank you" for completing household tasks, or small acts of kindness such as bringing their significant other something to drink, were "highly valued" by survey participants.

"Actions really do speak louder than words and many people consider a loving gesture to be as valuable as hearing 'I love you.' Grand romantic gestures, although appreciated, don't nurture a relationship as much as bringing your partner a cup of tea in bed, or watching TV together," said study co-author Jacqui Gabb in a statement.

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