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Rita Watson MPH

13 Thoughts for Enhancing Relationship Love and Happiness

Happiness is a state of mind that we can cultivate with gratitude.

Copyright 2019 Rita Watson
Flowers show love.
Source: Copyright 2019 Rita Watson

Romance has been on the wane these days as bedrooms become invaded by cell phones, iPads, laptops, and the ever growing size of television screens. As couples experience the marriage blues, they seem to lose their smiles and the excitement of intimacy. Columbia University has just released its second World Happiness Report.

While it does not talk about intimacy, it does point out that there are benefits to happiness. “Happy people live longer, are more productive, earn more, and are also better citizens. Well-being should be developed both for its own sake and for its side-effects.” While this does not suggest happy people are coupled up, there have been studies that point to sex for those over 60 as a way of measuring happiness. Frisky 60s Flower Children Are Still Making Love Not War

If one decides to take a chance on turning around a relationship in a rut and adding some sizzle to what has become routine and boring, here are some thoughts.

1. Listen to music -- This may be the secret to romance in 2013. In attempting to determine the relationship between music, romance, and sex, Spotify, the Swedish digital music service that commissioned the study, learned that the three top passion songs were “Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing,” “Sexual Healing,” and “Bolero.” All received top marks for songs to love by.

2. Express gratitude -- The most effective way to keep passion alive is to start by thinking and acting graciously. Speak words of love and speak lovingly. Give praise often. Ask yourself and answer the question: “What will my day look like if I start it and end it by thinking loving thoughts about my partner?”

3. Practice feng shui – Turn your bedroom into a place of calm passion using the feng shui principle of no clutter. Banish all non-essentials, ranging from untidy bookshelves to laundry baskets. Also remove all computers or televisions. Eight Bedroom Love Secrets for Sweet Dreams, Loving Sex

4. Maintain positive illusions -- From the research of Marcel Zentner, PhD, of the University of Geneva: "Men and women who continue to maintain that their partner is attractive, funny, kind, and ideal for them in just about every way remain content with each other."

5. Practice forgiveness -- When Professor Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers talked about the The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers added this reminder: "The Puritans call marriage the little church within the church. In marriage, every day you love, and every day you forgive. It is an ongoing sacrament—love and forgiveness."

6. Re-ignite that oxytocin -- Psychiatrist Dr. Scott Halzman says that natural highs "can produce excitatory neurochemicals that the brain interprets as excitement about your partner, not the activity." In addition to making love -- sex produces a natural high that can boost oxytocin levels -- do something out of your normal routine. Try going to an amusement park or walking in the rain.

7. Laugh together often -- Men like women who laugh at their jokes and women prefer men who make them laugh. A small research study found that women even rate funny guys as more intelligent than guys who are not so funny. The research was presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Brighton,England.

8. Wake up cheerful (this is a tough one) -- Say to your love when you awake in the morning: "What can I do for you today that will make your life easier and less stressful?" And whatever the answer, smile and respond with, “Let me try,” instead of groaning, “Oh, no.”

9. Write a love note – Make a decision to write a real love note and send it via the US Mail. Here's a simple start: "I love you for a million reasons, here are the top three."

10. Give the gift of listening -- Make a date if you must, in your own home or at a quiet little place in the neighborhood for coffee or a drink and just listen to each others thoughts.

11. Resolves differences early -- Create safe places within your home to talk about issues that are stressful, then make a plan to resolve them. You might even celebrate the negotiated settlement by doing something wildly out of character from making love on the spur of the moment to going out to dinner together or putting all work aside for the evening and give each other a night of loving touch. Or just pop a bottle of bubbly and serve with strawberries.

12. See yourselves happy -- Find a picture of the two of you smiling happily. Frame it or put it up on the refrigerator door with a note that says, "I love to see us happy."

13. Here is the secret to the ultimate in passion — never go to bed angry. Leave your anger at the door so that the bedroom becomes synonymous with love and eros, with passion and pleasure.

Happiness is a state of mind that we need to cultivate. Expressing gratitude is a good place to start. Let Gratitude Bring Back Your Smile

Copyright 2013 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

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About the Author

Rita Watson, MPH, is an associate fellow at Yale's Ezra Stiles College, a former columnist for The Providence Journal, and the author of Italian Kisses: Rose-Colored Words and Love from the Old Country.