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Why Cute Animals Are Good For Your Marriage

Cute animals improving a marriage may seem far-fetched, so you might be surprised to learn there may be some validity to this claim.

Wondering if getting a new pet is a good idea? Or if doing so will take a toll on (or help improve) your marriage? The reasons getting a cute animal (or even looking at cuddly creatures) may be good for your marriage might surprise you.

Research Findings

You don’t have to get a cute animal to reap the marital benefits of cuddly pets, as simply looking cute cuddly creatures appears to be beneficial for you and your spouse, according to a study published in 2017 in Psychological Science. Researchers who conducted the study found that repeatedly (once every three days for six weeks) pairing cute pictures of puppies and bunnies (or other positive stimuli) with images of participants’ spouses led to more positive attitudes of spouses and better satisfaction with marriages over time.

Why It Works

Pairing your spouse with something positive (like cute animals or positive words) over time appears to create positive associations each time you're around your spouse. The 2017 study published in Psychological Science says an example of this is when researcher Pavlov showed that dogs salivated at the sound of a bell because they associated the bell (which in and of itself is unrelated to food) with food after repeatedly being offered food during the bell’s sound. Similarly, associating a spouse with something happy and positive (like cute animals) appears to create that same effect of classical conditioning.

Do Pets Boost Happiness and Interpersonal Relationships?

Having a cute animal for a pet does appear to be beneficial for physical and mental health, according to a 2012 review published in Frontiers in Psychology. Researchers who conducted the review say human-animal interaction is beneficial for social behavior, interpersonal interactions, stress, heart rate, blood pressure, mood, fear, anxiety, and heart disease risks. Because of these potential physical and mental health benefits of having cute pets, the odds of a pet improving your marriage appear to be good.

Should I Get a Pet?

While numerous health and relationship benefits of having cute animals as pets appear to exist, pets aren’t for everybody. It’s important to weigh pros and cons before making that kind of important decision. While pets can be good for a marriage, they do add responsibility, cost money, and create extra work (cleaning up poop, etc.) for owners. Some people are allergic to pets, so don’t get a cute cuddly creature without weighing pros and cons and okaying it with your spouse. But if you can provide a good home for a pet and don’t mind the added responsibility of having one, adopting a furry friend can be extremely rewarding — and may boost your relationship with your spouse.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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