“One extraordinary 75-year study followed Harvard graduates from 1939 to 1944, into their 90s, looking at all aspects of their health and well-being. The principal investigator, the psychologist George Vaillant, summarized the findings as follows: “Happiness is love. Full stop.” People who have loving relationships with family and friends thrive; those who don’t, don’t.”
-Arthur C. Brooks in the Atlantic Magazine article, The Three Equations for a Happy Life
Happiness and Love
In the pandemic, couples have been moving towards the extremes. Either they are hunkering down and focusing on ways they can express their love and gratitude, or they are struggling to deal with the problems they may have glossed over in the past, or had been able to ignore because they had other happy outlets that are not available to them at this time.
When I saw this quote, I wondered if it might be able to provide couples a way to cut through the daily stress, arguments and concerns they have now. Love won’t solve everything (for example, it won’t pay the bills), but remembering to express love can make your days easier. Here are some simple ways to make your life more love-filled:
When confronted with something annoying, ask yourself “how could I be kind?’ Respond with kindness.
Tell your partner “I love you” every day. Set an alarm as a reminder if you need to (and this can come via text, btw, too)
Find activities you enjoy together for at least an hour a day. Watching a favorite series before bed; doing puzzles; cooking; walking…normally I suggest seeking ‘new and challenging’ activities, but ANY positive ‘play together’ time is useful right now.
Smile. Seek laughter.
Attend. One of the nicest things you can do right now is pay positive, open attention to his or her needs. Even if it’s a quick ‘what can I do to help you for the next 30 minutes’ that’s a big deal.
Be curious. About your partner’s feelings; activities; needs. Ask questions. Show you are interested.
Say something nice to or about your partner every time you can. Don’t hold back. We need appreciation now.
How could you be more loving in your relationship?
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