This is one in a series of monthly articles from Gretchen Rubin’s book: The Happiness Project.
February’s Project is Remembering Love. And just in time for Valentine’s Day: Here are some tips to make you and your partner happy!
Working on my marriage was an obvious goal for my happiness project, because a good marriage is one of the factors most strongly associates with happiness. Partly this reflect the fact that happy people find it easier to get and stay married, because happy people make better dates and easier spouses. But marriage itself also brings happiness, because it provides the support and companionship that everyone needs.
In all fairness, I think most of the points she makes applies to any kind of love relationship whether the people involved are married or not. But will mostly fit couples who are in a committed relationship — which tends to be one of our most important relationships.
Gretchen picked some areas where she desired to make changes to improve her relationship:
- Quit nagging — She suggests finding ways to remind your partner with anti-nagging techniques (like leaving visual cues) or just to do the task yourself. Another solution is to focus on what someone DOES do rather than focusing on what they don’t do.
- Don’t expect praise or appreciation — Expectations of being rewarded for a deed or task you do does not help expand love or improve a relationship. Do what you do to show love and leave it at that!
- Fight right — Fighting is not the issue as all couples disagree from time to time. Tips to fight right include tackling one issue at a time; Avoid the terms “you never …” or “you always …”; Make at least five positive interactions to one critical or destructive interaction.
- No dumping — Complaining or dumbing all your negative feelings on your partner is not productive. Sometimes we just need to keep the minor irritations that come up in life to ourselves. Or share them with a trusted friend instead.
- Give proof of love — Share affectionate moments. Be silly together. Plan something special for the two of you. Pay attention to your partner, especially when they are talking to you.
So which areas resonate with you, calling you to act on to remember love? In my case, I need to work on not expecting praise or appreciation. My husband is pretty good about this one, but I need to let it go when I start feeling down because he did not notice that I cleaned the living room or put his clothes away.
And, of course, giving proof of love is a fun activity to show your partner how much they mean to you. I don’t think we can give too many ‘proofs’ in a good relationship.