By Chelsea Karnash

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, U.K. (CBS) – What’s the secret to a truly happy marriage?

Apparently, it’s not having kids.

That’s according to a new study out of the United Kingdom’s Open University that claims the happiest married couples are those without children.

The study, titled “Enduring Love? Couple Relationships in the 21st Century,” surveyed nearly 5,000 participants in the U.K. about relationship quality, couple partnership, relationship maintenance, happiness with their relationship and happiness with life.

“Parents appear to engage in less relationship maintenance than childless participants,” researchers said. “Heterosexual parents are the group least likely to be there for each other, to make ‘couple time’, to pursue shared interests, to say ‘I love you’ and to talk openly to one another.”

Furthermore, unmarried parents reported being happier than those that tied the knot, and both fathers and mothers with kids were less likely to feel positive about the quality of their relationship with their partner than those without children.

The researchers also say mothers reported being the happiest of any group surveyed and were twice as likely as fathers to say their children were the most important people in their life.

But what’s equally important to both men and women? Being “best friends” with their partner. Researchers say the concept of “friendship” was consistently used by both sexes to signify emotional closeness.

To see the study, click here.

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