I enjoyed this post by a young engaged gal who is excited to be getting married. Yet, colleagues and even complete strangers fill their days warning her about how hard marriage is, celebrating their divorces with her, and suggesting she still has time to get out of the marriage deal. Read her reaction. (And as an added bonus at the bottom of her post, see a classic 1965 performance of Jackie DeShannon singing “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.”
I applaud her ability to be hopeful and positive within a negative climate. Yes, the cloud of young love is hovering over her, but her point is that she doesn’t live under a rock, and she knows all about divorce and failed relationships. (Don’t we all have more than a glimpse?)
I would guess that readers of this blog are rather fond of marriage. After all, you care enough to read marriage tips and research about boosting your relationship. How do you project your marriage to others? (Or if you are engaged, do you present a happy marriage as your ideal?) It’s so easy to fall into negativity and complaining. Try to be a positive voice even in a negative culture. Not only will you shape how others feel about marriage, you will help put your own relationship in its best light.
Sure, you may choose to have a serious discussion about the challenges of marriage to your nephew or your daughter, but are you overall bullish or bearish on marriage? Do you praise your spouse and your union? Do you share your positive experiences, how you felt at your marriage?
I like to tell people I’m a big fan of marriage and share how it’s been a great blessing to me. I get to share my life with my best friend. I get to reveal all my insecurities and dreams and concerns without fear of rejection. I always have someone to encourage me when I’m down or lend me the corner of his t-shirt to wipe away my tears (when I’m happy or sad). I have the perfect Daddy to help me raise my munchkins. I have someone who will even rub my feet if I ask nicely. In short, it’s totally worth the effort.
What’s your story, and have you shared it lately? Feel free to share it here. Or when you hear your coworkers griping about their spouses, say something positive to turn the conversation.
Photo Credit: ©PhotoXpress.com
In the Part I, we learned how important it is to respond positively to our partner’s good news. We also learned that individuals in successful, happy relationships each experience a higher ratio of positive to negative emotions than do those in unsuccessful relationships. Positive emotions—even fleeting ones—have the power to help us connect with others.
“Having an upbeat outlook enables people to see the big picture and avoid getting hung up on small annoyances,” says psychologist Barbara L. Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. “This wide-angle view often brings to new light new possibilities and offers solutions to difficult problems, making individuals better at handling adversity in relationships and other parts of life. It also tends to dismantle boundaries between “me” and “you,” creating stronger emotional attachments. (Remember the Power of We in Relationships?)
We’ve heard about Dr. Gottman’s 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions in a relationship, but Fredrickson studied positive emotions by each individual and found even when the ratio is 3:1 it helps them become more resilient in life and love.
How can we help boost positive emotions? Try to schedule activities often in places that exude positive energy for you, such as a nature hike or meetings in a restaurant you love. Surround yourself with scents and sounds that make you happy. Keep a collage of photos that make you smile on your desk, next to your bed, or wherever you spend time. Keep upbeat music on your ipod or stereo playing positive lyrics. Spend a few minutes hugging your spouse (and children) at the end of the day. Play with your pet.
Scientific American’s December 2009 article, “The Happy Couple: Secrets to a Long Marriage” provides more details.
What do you do to maintain a positive, upbeat attitude, or is this a struggle for you? I know when I’m not feeling well, or the weather has been cold or dreary for a long time, I struggle to be positive. Music helps change my mood.
Read Part I, Part III and Part IV for the other three secrets.
Posted in Communication, Divorce, Family, Love, Marriage, Marriage Research, Relationships, Uncategorized
Tagged 5:1 ratio, better marriage, better relationships, Communication, Family, Gottman, happiness, happy marriage, happy marriages, improve marriage, joy, listening, Love, Marriage Research, positive, positive emotions, positive interactions, prevent divorce, Relationships, Scientific American, scientific studies about love, secrets to a happy marriage, sharing, spouse
Do you sometimes wonder whether it’s possible to make a significant impact on the world, or even on your own family? Do you feel like a grain of sand on the beach in the scheme of life? I’ve certainly felt that way, but have been buoyed by several concepts that show how broad each person’s reach really is.
- You’ve all heard of the “Six Degrees of Separation,” meaning six or fewer people separate us from anyone else in the world. As we become more connected virtually, I think it’s clear there is even less and less separation between us and anyone else. It takes literally no time at all to connect with people of common interest around the world. Your voice, your ideas, your money—they all travel faster and further than ever.
- Second, think about the happiness research that underscores that friends—and even friends of friends—are quickly impacted by your happiness. Happiness spreads faster than sadness, and close physical contact has more impact that distant communication. People are attracted to positive energy, a light in the darkness, a kind word or a friendly smile.
- Finally, I chuckled when I read a quote by business philosopher Jim Rohn, which states that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Better start paying attention to who you are with the most. Hopefully, you are spending enough time with your children to have a significant positive impact on their development.
What kind of impact do you want to have in life? Take the time to reach out to someone—across the globe, across the street, or in your own family. Be aware that others may have a larger impact on your attitudes and behavior than you realize, just as you may have a large impact on others. Who and what is surrounding you, your spouse and your children?
How do you want to be thought of or remembered? How you live is how you will be remembered.
Posted in Communication, Family, Parenting, Personal Growth, Relationships
Tagged Communication, Connection, Family, happiness, impact, Parenting, Personal Growth, positive, success