Flow State Together

Part 2: The highest level of happiness.

Posted Aug 09, 2019

Comfreak/Pixabay
Source: Comfreak/Pixabay

Linda: Flow is the ultimate ecstatic experience, the highest level of happiness. A successful marriage operates in flow state a large portion of the time because both partners are meeting challenges with skills.

Here is a story of a couple who has discovered what, for them, is an excellent way to enter flow together.

Antra: “One of my very favorite ways of getting into a flow state with my husband Rich is ice dancing. He used to be a hockey player, and he’s a really good ice skater. Many years ago, I decided to take up skating. I took lessons for years, lots and lots of lessons, and eventually became a pretty good skater. Then I talked him into giving up his hockey skates for figures skates, which was not easy for a hockey player to do. Now we do ice-dancing together.”

Rich: “I love the way that we can move and flow together, gliding across the ice. It feels completely natural and effortless. Often it’s not clear which of us is leading and which is following. At these moments, I fell we are dissolving into each other and into oneness. For me, skating together to music we both love, looking into each other’s eyes, is heaven on ice.”

This couple found an athletic activity that takes them right into the flow. But there are many ways to get there. Brenda McDaniel, an assistant professor of psychology at Kansas State University, says, “A majority of the literature focuses on experiencing flow in a job or activity. But in her study, she examined how couples might experience flow during meaningful conversations.”

McDaniel’s research found that engaging in flow is often associated with happiness and positive characteristics of relationships. Her findings show that those couples engaging in rewarding conversations are less likely to hold on to anger and stress and are more likely to be satisfied with their relationship.

She summarizes her research with this statement, ”This positive, rewarding state of flow during conversation may be one of the factors that create enduring marital relationships.”

Here is a starter kit of ideas and activities where some couples move into a flow state:

  • Sharing meaningful, intimate conversations
  • Making love
  • Sharing a hobby
  • Playing games (cards, chess, etc.)
  • Having an adventure, like traveling together to exotic destinations
  • Listening to music together
  • Co-authoring an article, poem, or book
  • Doing yoga together (try partner yoga)
  • Skiing
  • Riding bicycles
  • Snowboarding
  • Hiking nature trails
  • Mountain climbing
  • Massaging each other
  • Cooking a meal
  • Decorating your home
  • Discussing the book you’re reading
  • Gardening
  • Singing together
  • Playing with ideas

This is just a starter kit. Be sure to add your favorites.

Exercise: 

1. Which of these activities do you participate in with your partner to enter a flow state?

2. Once you have identified the ways you enter a flow state, assess the regularity with which you participate in these behaviors.

3. Assess whether you would like the frequency to be greater, and what that would require of you.

4. What activities would you like to add?

With the diligent practice of our relationship skills, the trust and cooperation that we accumulate culminates in our enhanced ability to do the metaphoric dance of relationship with elegance, style, and beauty.

The flow state may show itself in the form of athletic or intellectual pursuits, adventure, or creative expression. You might find your joy by literally dancing together, singing together, writing together, teaching together, in the form of ecstatic lovemaking, having a compelling conversation, raising children together with inspiration, or creating an abundant, interesting, loving life together.

It’s possible. So what if it’s lots of work? Depending on the regularity with which you participate in these behaviors, elegant delight will characterize your partnership.

Is there anything that would be more important to do with our time?