Love, Relationships and Couple Happiness: A Cross-Cultural Comparison Among Spanish Couples and Moroccan Couples in Southern Spain


  • Encarnación Soriano-Ayala
  • Verónica C. Cala
  • Manuel Soriano Ferrer
  • Herenia García-Serrán


Love and relationships are sociocultural constructions that, in recent times, have experienced great changes in terms of type of relationship, type of love and happiness of the couple. Few studies have analysed the love relationships immigrant population in Europe. This study aims to explore the differences and similarities in love styles between Spaniards and Moroccan immigrants, the country’s largest foreign population, and analyse the relationship between these styles and level of couple happiness. This cross-sectional study disseminated a survey to young adults between the ages of 18 and 40 in southern Spain. Of those who received the survey, 574 young adults responded, of which 182 were of Moroccan origin and 392 were Spanish. The results indicated that there are sociocultural and gender differences in the types of relationships young adults maintain and in the agents that facilitate romantic socialisation. The Spaniards describe less stable relationships, more influenced by several agents, while the Moroccans demonstrated more stability in relationships, more influenced by family and religion. In accordance with Sternberg love components, different types of love were recognised. Spanish women are the group most value love in their lives, rated higher in couple happiness, and gave special importance to intimacy (but not to commitment and passion). Moroccan women followed models of love closer to Sternberg's romantic love, giving importance to commitment, intimacy and passion. Spanish men were similar to Moroccan men regarding their type of love, although they were the only ones that included commitment as a predictor of happiness. This study reveals that the importance of an intersectional approach to analyse love and couples.