Four minutes is not a long time. Yet, it can feel infinite when your task is to sit across from someone and hold their gaze without talking. But the payoff, according to psychologist Arthur Aron, could be love.

Over the years, Aron has published several studies that investigate the ways we can create interpersonal closeness. One such study (which has been recreated by daters and journalists alike) encouraged strangers to spend 90 minutes asking one another several intimate questions before spending four minutes of uninterrupted eye contact. Aron found afterward couples felt a deep attraction for one another — regardless of how long they’d known each other. In fact, one couple got married.

SoulPancake came across this particular study by way of The New York Times and invited 12 couples to test out the eye contact portion of the experiment. One couple met the day of the video shoot, another was on their fourth date, while some couples were years into their relationship, from one to 55. And each couple starts off awkwardly: They’re fidgeting, making jokes, actually rubbing their eyes to get ready.

But at some point, they fall quiet and simply stare into their partner’s eyes. Even though they’d skipped the question, each couple felt more connected to, and appreciate of, their partner. The strangers, too, acknowledged that they might want to go get a drunk. The woman on her fourth date said she’d never done anything like that — and surprisingly, neither had the woman who has been married for 55 years.

“In 55 years of marriage, we’ve never really looked into each other’s eyes like that,” she said. “But I do look at your eyes sometimes, because I’m checking your blood sugar.” (You’re aww’ing, right? Cutest couple ever.)

That people don’t often make direct eye contact isn’t a foreign idea. In a study from Quantified Impressions, a communications-analytics company, adults reported making eye contact during conversation between 30 and 60 percent of the time; the ideal is between 60 and 70 percent of the time. In addition to missing an intimate connection, people who withhold eye contact are seen as untrustworthy, unknowledgeable, and nervous, Jezebel reported.

Another benefit of making direct eye contact is increased self-awareness. A study published in Cognition found physical self-awareness becomes more intense when participants were the subject of another’s gaze. This could be, as Medical Daily previously reported, the muscles around the eyes communicate strong messages because they dictate emotion.

Whatever the case, there's no denying direct eye contact can be useful for both increased connection and knowledge, be it of someone else or just you.