Maintaining a strong relationship takes a big effort, but British charity OnePlusOne is on a mission to teach people that it is the little things that make relationships last.
As families and marriages in the United Kingdom impose high costs on society, the Department of Education granted OnePlusOne the equivalent of about $4.5 million to help British citizens strengthen their relationships and, in turn, stabilize the society, The Guardian reported.
About $75,000 of that amount has been dedicated to a campaign the charity is calling "love nuggets," leading some to question whether taxpayer money is being poorly spent.
Love nuggets, according to the charity's definition, are small acts of kindness and love that let a person's partner know that they are appreciated and cared for.
"Romantic gestures are often portrayed as grand acts and deeds. But research shows that regular small acts of kindness such as taking your partner a cup of tea in bed or being there after a tough day can add up, helping to make a relationship stronger, happier and healthier in the long run," the Love Nugget website explains.
OnePlusOne stresses that saving the relationship is key to saving the family, which will create a stronger society.
Relationships Foundation, a British research organization, found that family break-ups cost the country about $77 billion in 2013. The number was calculated by looking at the effect of broken families and ended relationships on crime rates, child education levels and health care costs.
While much of OnePlusOne's work is centered on discussing policy and practical solutions to relationship problems, the Love Nugget campaign is a "tongue in cheek" approach to strengthening relationships, according to The Mirror.
The campaign is driven by real-life examples of small gestures of love submitted by the public. On the website's home page, visitors can press a button to receive several suggestions that will hopefully provide "inspiration to boost your everyday love life," or they can visit the section titled "All the Nuggets" to search for their own.
While the campaign is a fun and lighthearted attempt to encourage affection in the United Kingdom, some are criticizing the government for using public money to sponsor what the Telegraph called "stalking within marriage."
"Brace yourself: your Monday is about to get considerably more excruciating. In a moment of bizarre, touchy-feely didacticism, the Department of Education, no less, is throwing almost £45,000 of taxpayers’ money at a campaign to propagate the distinctly dodgy sounding 'love nuggets,'" the Telegraph article said.
Divorce lawyer Vanessa Lloyd Platt complained about the forced nature of the program, telling The Huffington Post UK, "It is so patronizing, and it actually makes the problem worse. When you feel obliged to do things like this, instead of addressing the real issues in the relationship, then people don't want to do it."
Despite the complaints, the idea that small signs of care and affection are vital to maintaining the relationship has scientific support.
"We need to pay attention to each other," Pamela Regan, a professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, wrote in Psychology Today. "We need to participate fully and positively in the seemingly humdrum but absolutely essential everyday moments that make up a relationship. We need to sweat the small stuff, because the small stuff is important."
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