Before taking off on our journey to regain some of those abandoned magical marital actions, let us contribute a few moments to the wonderful act of reminiscence. Take a deep breath, inhale slowly through your nose, hold for 5 seconds and exhale slowly through your mouth. Now engage all your senses as you recall the time and place where you and your partner first met. What did you see, feel, hear, smell, etc.? Fast forward to the day you announced your wedding to family and friends. Ladies, was there a noticeable higher pitch of excitement in your voice, perhaps some joyous jumping accompanied by some uncontrollable smiling, or did you convey the news in a blunt, dreaded voice mumbling something about a wedding? Men, I am not specifically referring to your reaction in the last mentioned example… no, just kidding. Men might rather proudly proclaim it by saying something like; “This stallion has found his cowgirl.”
Hereafter, the wedding formalities take place, you may kiss the bride, wine and dine and off you go to honeymoon and into that happily ever after, with your beloved sweetheart. I mean what can go wrong. At this stage, you are on a natural high, filled with extraordinary happiness.
Happiness vs haphazard habit
According to Positive Psychology, we can distinguish between hedonic and eudaimonic happiness or well-being, which mostly refers to an individual’s subjective experience concerning their circumstances, situations, events, feelings, etc. Hedonic happiness refers to fleeting, intensely pleasurable events such as your wedding day and honeymoon for example. Eudaimonic happiness is a more sustainable type of happiness and includes, for example, a deep sense of meaning of life, meaning in life, connection, companionship and true friendship. The renowned Positive Psychology expert, Prof. Sonja Lyubomirsky, introduced the determinants of happiness, as well as the Happiness Set point theory, coupled with the concept of hedonic adaptation to the scientific world. This theory suggests that our happiness levels are unique to each individual and are made up of 40% derived from your intentional thoughts, actions, and choices, and a mere 10% determined by external circumstances, like your marriage. Furthermore, the theory concludes that we all have a happiness baseline, which makes up the remaining 50% genetic attributes, to which our happiness will return after an exciting or adverse event.
This theory suggests that your marriage can be happier, through the intentional choices and actions you take, to develop and employ strategic tactics of exciting, enjoyable, beneficial, meaningful and purposeful moments, in order to counter this hedonic adaptation effect, in your marriage. Here is a measurable framework to develop your own personalized plan and goals to strengthen your marriage and friendship.
Ensure to have mutual goals in specific areas of your lives and relationship. No matter how grandiose or minute, shared goals are essential. Celebrate the success and achievement of every goal in an exciting and fun filled manner.
When you eliminate emotions, perceptions, biases, and assumptions from any situation, the facts will reveal itself, providing you with your actual reality.
Utilize your innovative and creative mutual inputs, to develop new ways to reach your goals. Think outside of those boxes.
Do you truly have the will and determination to transform your plans into actions, in order to reach your goals? Your willingness also determines your commitment to your marital and relational plans and goals.
What exactly do you want the results of achieving your goals to be? What would you like to see, experience and feel as the result of successful goal achievement?
How are you going to measure the success and achievement of your goals? Develop your own measurement tool, which can include quantitative or qualitative measures that will work for your goal, in your unique circumstances, with the resources you have to your disposal.
Do you have realistic goals, which are achievable within your capacity? Identify the attributes that you can manage, as well as those that are out of your control. A goal is not a wish or a dream, therefore the realization of your goal must never include a dependence on other people or their actions. You will immediately notice such goals the moment you need to include the words “if” and “only then”.
How relevant are your goals towards the improvement of your marriage, friendship, and relational well-being? Is it relevant enough that you feel the need to make it a priority?
Discuss and agree on a realistic period in which you would like to achieve your goals. Note that this proposed timeframe is not to be mistaken for a deadline, and may never cause any stress, fear and/or anxiety to either yourself or your partner. It is a guideline.
While you are busy brainstorming about your goals and action plans, remember to enjoy each other, laugh together, and be grateful for the privilege to still have your best friend and partner on your side, while you journey with through this amazing adventure, called LIFE.