*Positive Provocations*

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10 Ways to Add a Dash of Happiness to Your Relationships ~ Happy Relationships Series

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“Let your love be like the misty rains, coming softly, but flooding the river.” ~Malagasy Proverb

After receiving countless lovely emails and messages regarding different kinds of relationships and the problems in them, this is the article I wrote, which attempts to answer almost all of those queries. 

One of my friends recently gave me an article about happiness that asked the question, “How happy can we be?” Pretty darn happy if I’m in love, you might say. But according to psychologists, about 50 percent of our happiness is determined by our genes, and amazingly only about 10 percent has to do with our actual circumstances. The other 40 percent has to do with what we do to counteract a seemingly natural tendency for us to stay at or around what we psychologists term our “set point” or “base line.”

In other words people tend to reach a goal, whether it be finding love, getting married, or making more money and feel a surge of happiness for a while, only to soon adapt back down to their “set point.”

The Belief of Fireworks and Excitement to Ho-Hum

Relationships seem to go the same way for a lot of people. The beginning is like : all fireworks and excitement. But then, somewhere between changing diapers and paying the mortgage, couples lose their way. They forget it’s their responsibility to their relationship–and their happiness–to continue cultivating the magic, and things become ho-hum. They just don’t feel excited about each other anymore and thus feel less happy than they should.

Many people believe it is natural for the excitement level–and hence our happiness level–to go down after the new wears off the relationship. But since it is our beliefs that determine our reality, believing something more serving is a good idea if you want long-term happiness in your relationships.

Another belief is that your relationship can get better and better as time goes on. One of my patients said that he is more deeply happy now than at the beginning of his relationship. He feels that the beginning was exciting and fun, but now, he feels “deeply content and peaceful” which is a “more fulfilling feeling.” He says, “I love her more deeply now because I know her more deeply now.”

It’s true that the excitement in the beginning is new and so–well, it’s exciting–and later there is less of that brand of fun. But the beginning is also part illusion; we are projecting our light onto our partners; we are seeing the God in them. We haven’t yet seen their humanness, their insecurities and flaws. Seeing each other’s weaknesses is perhaps not as exciting, but isn’t it deeply profound that we can love each other, not only in spite of, but even because of our flaws? And as we feel safer and more secure with our partner, we can open to greater depths of intimacy. This intimacy though can only happen if we are paying attention to our relationship and nurturing it rather than allowing all the other demands of life suck the life out of our relationship.

There are many things that we can do to counteract the tendency to fall into relationship rut and be less happy than we deserve to be. It’s really about taking responsibility for creating passion and desire rather than expecting it to just be there.

Following are ten ways you can add a dash of Happiness to your relationships:

1. Spend time regularly thinking about all the things you love about your partner, and share your thoughts with your partner. When we get stressed, it’s easy to focus on what we find irritating. But it’s important to make a conscious effort to shift your thinking to the positive and look for the best in your partner.

2. Take time each week to go on a date with your partner, to be romantic and loving. And take time to make love with words, with actions, with thoughts…. The more you do it, the more you want it. The less you do it, the less you want it.

3. Take time each month or so to experience something totally new with your partner, whether attending an interesting lecture, walking, or going to a new town. Experiencing new things adds a level of excitment to your relationship.

4. When discussing money issues–remember it’s cited as the number one cause for divorce–set a time, go to the kitchen table, discuss it, and then let it go. If you haven’t resolved it, set another time to discuss it in that way. Avoid letting it become a discussion in the bedroom or over dinner, and avoid any tendency to discuss it on and off throughout the day.

5. Promote intimacy by taking the time to be share your feelings, needs and desires, and be open to hearing about your partner’s.

6. Dream with your partner, and set goals that you work on together to reach them.

7. Take time at least once a day to say thank you to your partner for loving you and for sharing life’s journey with you. Take time for intimacy.

8. Deal with any upsets at the time they happen or soon after so that they don’t fester and become resentments.

9. Always speak to your partner in a loving and respectful way.

10. Most Important- Give love a 100% and expect Nothing in return. There is a certain purity to actions that come from a place of pure love.

Making a commitment to each other to do these ten simple things on a regular basis can keep you from falling into the relationship rut and feeling that you’re not in love anymore. You and your partner can take the responsibility to keep the sparks flying and enjoy a lasting love.

So right now, recommit to taking the time to nurture your relationship everyday so that like a beautiful garden that is well tended, it will grow and grow, and continue to bring you both happiness and joy, year after blissful year.

Please Note: This article is the 4th part(and last part) in the series of articles on “Happy Relationships”. From Self-love, to Giving love, to Finding your soul mate, to having happy healthy loving relationships….all will be unraveled in this “Happy Relationships Series” of articles. Be sure to be subscribed(by clicking here) so that you don’t miss any part of this Heart Opening Series.

What are YOUR thoughts on this topic? How do you add dashes of happiness to your relationships?  Share your wisdom in the comments of this article. I’d love to get to know you!

With Immense Love & Gratitude,
~Zeenat~
Counseling Psychologist/Spiritual Counselor
Motivational Speaker/Naturopath


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Author: Zeenat Merchant Syal

Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor/Motivational Speaker/Naturopath/Holistic Healer/Writer

20 thoughts on “10 Ways to Add a Dash of Happiness to Your Relationships ~ Happy Relationships Series

  1. My mother and I fight over money. I will take to heart about only talking about it at certain times.

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thats a good idea. A certain time when you are both in the right frame of mind, makes for healthy discussion as compared to when you are upset or angry.
      I dont think a frivolous thing like money should ever come in-between a beautiful relationship :) May your relationship with your mother blossom further.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here.
      Much love~

  2. The tips you listed really do work. Our loved one’s need to know they are appreciated. We need to show people that we respect and value them based on good actions towards them.

    • Salaams Hijab savvy! Lovely seeing you here :)
      Appreciation does go a long way na..especially when we can take the time to show it with love.
      I;m glad you liked these tips and happier that you shared your thoughts here.
      I hope to see you here more often with your gorgeous thoughts.
      Much love~

  3. Zeenat, this is a beautiful article. Thank you for your so many practical suggestions. I like your suggestions about the discussions regarding money. If the conversations of money can be combined with dreaming together, I believe that the issue of money can be neutralized to work for the couple, instead of the couple being enslaved to negative feelings about money.

    • Dear Steve,
      Youre so right…dreams with healthy money conversations looking int he same direction, does make for happier couples. I always find it very hard to digest how something as intensely material as money can sever even the best of relationships. I think we give far too much importance to money that actual love. Just in the past 6 months I’ve come across nearly 15 couples who have issues with their marriage/partnership cause of money. May we all have the wisdom to look beyond…
      So glad you liked this article…love seeing your words here.
      Much Love~

  4. Dear Z,

    Since I do not have a “truest soul mate” I wish to offer these observations, thoughts, actions, words, video and song:

    “I hope and pray you find your truest love, one that appreciates you for you. No questions asked.”

    Zeenat, these words from you did go into the inner depth of my heart. The one word that comes resonating back from there has been ‘whispering’ to me “humanness”.

    I took the ‘action’ of throwing away the ‘smooth’ heart shape stone that you see being held in my open hand into the ocean. Along with this stone went “expectation”.

    I felt *calm* listening to Gails meditative audio, but what has always attracted me to her and what I wanted to find out about her has always been more of the “humanness”.that makes her tick.

    I would like to offer this video once again:

    “Seeing each other’s weaknesses is perhaps not as exciting, but isn’t it deeply profound that we can love each other, not only in spite of, but even because of our flaws?”

    I don’t think there is anything stronger that we can build in this world than this “profound” bond.

    “believing something more serving is a good idea if you want long-term happiness in your relationships.”

    …to this:

    “Darlings, it’s all a circle from the ring of wire that keeps the raccoons from the corn to the gouged pine table that we lounge around, distressed before any of you was born.”—–Maxine Kumin

    And within this circle of life:

    3. Take time each month or so to experience something totally new with your partner, whether attending an interesting lecture, walking, or going to a new town. Experiencing new things adds a level of excitment to your relationship.

    Thank you for the ~Malagasy Proverb

    …to this:

    Monotone

    The monotone of the rain is beautiful,
    And the sudden rise and slow relapse
    Of the long multitudinous rain.

    The sun on the hills is beautiful,
    Or a captured sunset sea-flung,
    Bannered with fire and gold.

    A face I know is beautiful—
    With fire and gold of sky and sea,
    And the peace of long warm rain.—-Carl Sandburg

    Zeenat, having my ‘share’ of failed relationships, from these experiences I must say that your “10 ways” are the ’10 Commandments’ of *helping* to secure a happy relationship.

    Finally, this *old foolish romantic* stagehand that appreciates *glitter* and *butterflies* and who loves BIG *glowing hearts* would like to share this video and song:

    http://youtu.be/qkk5wViJo-I

    Much peace,
    Rand

    • HI Rand,
      You almost always leave me speechless but oh so in awe of what you so generously share. Thank you for adding your dash of happiness to this conversations.
      Much Love~

  5. Beautiful Zeenat!

    What a beautiful, beautiful list, which I’d expect from a soul as purely loving as yours. Each word warmed my heart and caused me to shake my head “YES!” in agreement. While I may not be in a romantic relationship right now, when I am your words will guide me because they feel right in all ways.

    I hope you’ll re-post this next year to remind us… It’s too good to only post once!

    Love to you! And a big hug,
    Megan

    • My darling Joyful Angel,
      You make my heart smile with that flooring comment :) *blush*
      I will definitely repost this maybe in valentines week, with more additions to the list :)
      I’ve seen these tips to work well for all relationships..not just romantic. So go on try them now !
      I’m so happy you liked this article so much.
      Thank you for sharing your heart so generously here.
      So Much Love~

  6. Zeenat,

    I love these 10 tips. I want to print them out and be sure to practice them! Watch out – it’s going to be a hot September.

    I know those studies on happiness. But I think true happiness and love goes beyond genetics. We can take it all the way to the sky.

    Love to you! Sandra

    • Darling Sandra,
      Aha Hot and full of happening love September eh ;)
      And I completely agree….love can go beyond the sky and far far ahead…if we only lovingly nurture it.
      Thank you for adding your dash of magical hotness to this conversations.
      Love and hugs~

  7. Dear Zeenat,

    Such a lovely intro — sadly, too many people do give up when the fireworks begin to fade. For awhile, I was one of them. As terrible as it sounds, it was difficult for me to fully commit, as I was always worried someone better would come along and I would miss my opportunity for lasting love and happiness. Now that I’m a bit older and have been married for 3 years, I see things so much differently.

    Neither one of us is perfect, and we’re exact opposites in many ways, but that’s also what makes us compliment one another so well. That’s where communication and understanding are so important. The better I get to understand my husband (his personality preferences, needs, likes, dislikes), the better I can meet his needs and communicate mine.

    However, it’s not always sunshine and roses, and it takes a lot of work. Like everyone, we tend to get “busy” or “lazy” with our relationship from time to time. When we implement the types of suggestions listed above, I definitely notice a difference in our relationship and both of our levels of happiness.

  8. Good advice.

    I know I create my reality with my mind so I consciously spend time thinking loving thoughts about my sweetheart.

    I’ve also read that a little “danger” has actually been shown to keep passion alive in couples’ relationships. I’m not advocating this but I am intrigued by the assertion. My boyfriend and I are both entrepreneurs who started businesses this year and I think that “danger” does increase our excitement and bond to each other ;-)

  9. I loved this article of yours Zeenat. Really makes things so much clearer about relations. I am a single mother and I dont have a partner but I sure can share this post with my other friends.

  10. Hi Z,

    Just want to mention that I had never read your ‘True Love Or Infatuation’ ‘Whats The Difference?’ post. Thanks for providing the link. This really helps! Lets all *pray* we *all* will find our ‘Truest Love’. Reading the comments from that Valentines post…I myself will pray even more that all the kind people will once and for all be with their truest soul mates come this next Valentines Day.

  11. With my ex-husband, I always felt adrift and not understood. I don’t blame him as we have such different personalities that it was hard for both of us.

    When I got involved with the man I’m with now, it was a slow beginning. It wasn’t wild and crazy… can’t keep your hands off the person. It was , and is, a deep sense of connection; an understanding of who we are and, best of all, it was fed by our shared love of laughter.

    When either of us is struggling, it is this love of laughter that reconnects us and helps us get through the bumpy times. Oddly, we met online and the subject of my online bio was, “Make me laugh!”

    Thanks for this post, Zeenat. I always enjoy it when I land on your site. It’s been too long, but this was a good time to visit.

  12. Good article…i love it… :) thx

  13. Zeenat, thank you for your enlightening look at love and relationships. I really mean enlightening or even illuminating. Something about your outlook just seems to lighten the topic completely. Sometimes I get caught expecting my partner to be or act a certain way. I expect the things that will make me “happy” instead of being happy with all the love he gives me in his own time and own way. I love him and it’s nice to be reminded that loving can carry us a long way, a much longer way than expectation and demand.

  14. Zeenat, could you tell me how can I love the one that I’m not feel love ? I’ve found it’s so hard to do.

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