Image: iStock/pixedeli Image: iStock/pixedeli

Anyone in a long-term relationship will surely agree that it's hardly all sunshine and rainbows all the time. In fact, there might be days when you can barely stand to look at each other, let alone feel a desire to rip each other's clothes off and jump into bed together.

If you've been feeling a little bit glum about your partner lately and want to get that old spark back, then you might be interested to hear the results from a rather unusual psychological study into relationships.

It seems that all you need to do is look at pictures of your beloved and then snapshots of happy things and you'll recover that blissful feeling in no time. Kind of. Here's what the study actually revealed.

A team from Florida State University led by James McNulty wanted to look at the phenomenon known as conditioning to see whether building associations involving a partner could lead to improved marital satisfaction.

They worked with 144 couples who had all been married for less than five years and were of an average age of 28. Each person was questioned about how happy they were in their marriage and then photos were taken of them - five smiling and four neutral of each participant.

Every person was then asked to view a stream of images once every three days for six weeks. The participants thought they were being tested for rapid responses, when they were actually being conditioned.

That's because within each stream of random images were pictures of their smiling spouses and then shots of puppies, bunnies, sunsets and words including 'wonderful' (do you see where they were going with this?).

Amazingly, it worked; the people who had been shown their partner's face alongside happy snaps developed more positive feelings for their spouse than they had at the start of the study - and their marital satisfaction even went up, Big Think reports.

"This is the first experimental study to demonstrate sustained attitude change toward a well-known object using a low-thought approach such as evaluative conditioning," McNulty told the Association of Psychological Science.

So, there you have it. All you need to do is intersperse pics of your partner on your iPhone with snapshots of fluffy kittens and look at them regularly, and you'll be feeling the love again in no time.

Since there's a bank holiday coming up and many couples may well be heading to that font of all rows otherwise known as Ikea, you might want to get started now...