Flame of passion burns brighter if your perfect match is a bit dim
HOW to find a perfect wife or husband is a question that has puzzled the sexes for centuries.
Now academics claim to have come up with the solution.
They have apparently discovered that a bride should be five years younger than her groom, from the same cultural background, and be the more intelligent of the couple.
Sticking to the formula would increase the chances of a long and happy marriage by up to a fifth, the team from the Geneva School of Business found.
One couple that it appears to apply to in several ways is the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh.
At 83, the queen is four years and 10-and-a-half months younger than the duke.
They certainly share the same sort of background, even if the foreign-born duke, a member of the Greek and Danish royal families by birth, had to become a naturalised British subject before their marriage.
As to their respective intelligence, it would be inappropriate to speculate.
It would be fair to say that the queen's natural sense of diplomacy has shone through countless times over the decades, matched on some occasions only by the duke's seemingly innate ability to offend.
Their union has seen off the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune for more than six decades, since their wedding in Westminster Abbey in November 1947.
The academic study, published in the 'European Journal of Operational Research', looked at 1,074 couples aged between 19 and 75.
The researchers concluded that a wife should be at least 27pc more intelligent than her husband. She should hold a degree, while he should not.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, marrying a divorcee reduced the chance of wedded bliss.
Nguyen Vi Cao, who led the research, promised: "If people follow these guidelines in choosing their partners they can increase their chances of a happy, long marriage by up to 20pc."
Relationship experts thought there might be something in the findings.
Kate Figes, who interviewed 120 people for 'Couples', her recent book on understanding relationships, said: "Aren't most women the more intelligent in a relationship anyway? That's my first reaction." (©Daily Telegraph, London)