About Happier LoveIs your love life getting happier? By love we don’t just mean sex but that is definitely included. We mean, are you doing love in such a way as it makes you and those you love smile, grin, laugh and have a sense of shared joy and, maybe once in a while, even have a sense of oceanic rapture together? Whether you are a couple, a family or are really close, loving friends, you ‘together’ can learn and practice certain behaviors which researchers have discovered may assist us in growing happier as we go about love together.
1. Savor more and more together!
Any good, joint experience is worth lingering in, so enjoy and share it longer and more fully. So often we cut short our joy in order to get to the ‘next thing’. Usually the ‘next thing’ could have waited a bit longer and wasn’t really that good, important or as necessary as you might have first thought. Jointly sharing and, in essence, saturating yourselves longer in any positive experience likely will do you and your love relationship more good than whatever you are about to hurry on to. Savoring any positive experience together can double your joy, strengthen your relationship and help you be more physically and mentally healthy.
Savoring basically is accomplished by purposely focusing longer on, and sort of soaking up, or emotionally digesting further the experience and it’s various elements. Then for doing it more fully together, you can share what you focused on and the feelings that brought you.
2. Be jointly open to flexibility!
Do you push to have the excellent date, set the just right scene, produce the most superb romantic dinner, create outstanding and incredible sex, have the finest time ever, give the perfect party or even just have a super clean house before company comes. Well, doing all that often makes for way too much pressure, tension and stress for happiness to have much of a chance. At best you may get a sense of pride and a sense of relief when it’s all over.
The more perfectionistic the goals and standards, and the more elaborate and picky the plans, the greater the likelihood of insufficient mental flexibility for shared elation to occur. With flexibility and tolerational love, shared merrymaking has a much better opportunity to happen. The ability to laugh together at various foul-ups, jointly appreciate odd occurrences, be united in humorous tolerance for deviations from the plan, and celebrate the unexpected as a loving team, the more you are likely to create great, happy memories and fine togetherness.
3. Schedule fun including sexual fun frequently.
Most good and happy times occur because they were on somebody’s schedule to make happen. Even if an experience seems spontaneous it is likely at least part of it was planned. By its very nature, spontaneity can help provide some wonderful times together but it cannot be counted on to provide all the recreation (re– creation) fun love relationships need.
I suggest you abide by the principle that says ‘it won’t happen unless it’s given a time and it’s on your calendar’. Enjoy whatever else comes along but don’t depend on it to fulfill your minimum, regular quotient of quality love experiences. That requires scheduling. Those who do this are found to have a lot more happy times, have greater experiences together and consistently grow their love better than those who don’t. By the way, shared experiences usually bring more happiness than most acquired objects.
4. Grow your mindfulness sharing.
Mindfulness means focusing on what you are experiencing right now, in thought and feeling. It also means not letting your focus switch to anything in or from the past, the future or anywhere besides the ‘here and now’. Mindfulness sharing means doing the same thing but sharing your ‘here and now’ awareness with someone you love. It can involve verbally expressing the thoughts and feelings you are having right now about and with each other. That works especially well if the mindfulness has to do with appreciation and affirmation.
Sharing mindfulness also can be done nonverbally with the expressional communications of touch, lovingly looking into each other’s eyes, facial expressions, tones of voice, gestures and posture changes, and just being physically close while experiencing emotional connectedness as you experience what is happening around you. Think of standing together holding hands and feeling awe together as you both look at a truly awesome sunset, over and equally awesome land or seascape.
Now if for example, you are there but your mind has wandered off to some issue at work, checking your e-mails, or worrying that you didn’t lock the door back home, you have lost a “precious now” and are no longer receiving and sharing the “present” of the present. Love’s intimacy, closeness and bonding will all be less. When that happens I suggest you practice ‘mind yanking’ back to the ‘existential now’ and lose yourself in it together.
5. Go for shared, serene joy as much, or more, as you go for jubilant excitement!
Shared calm serenity, simple easy-going non-demand comfort, quiet awesomeness, and the grand mystical togetherness feelings of deep, joyful love often bring much greater happiness than momentary ecstasy, or the highs of adrenaline-filled adventure. Relaxed, peaceful, ongoing joy and happiness often is the best of love, although elation surprises and experiences also can be great. Go for both.
6. Enjoy emotional intercourse every day you can!
Emotional intercourse happens when you empathetically feel whatever a loved one is feeling emotionally, and they know or sense you are feeling something very similar to what they are feeling. It can happen mildly to moderately, or in wonderfully strong and powerful ways. If you ever feel like you really are inside each other, or you have melded together, or in ecstasy you exploded together and have become one with the universe, you have experienced great, emotional intercourse.
If you feel comforted and safe, pleasantly but deeply with, peacefully connected and just right with someone you love, you may be having the very excellent, more moderate form of emotional intercourse. And if you have moments where you just are showing and feeling care for someone and they for you, that might be one of the milder, emotional intercourse experiences occurring. There is great individual difference in these, but they all are very good.
To have emotional intercourse, focus on your loved one and what is going on in their heart and gut as much, or more than what is coming from their mind. Enjoy their enjoyment. Then center yourself in care or loving appreciation. Do this especially when they are happy, or up, about something as well as when they are down. In happy experiences be sure all your attention does not go outwardly to the experience and what is happening there, but also that some of you attention, or a lot of it, goes to the one you love and sharing the joy, or whatever feeling they are having.
At the same time share your own concurrent emotional experiences. Then keep going back and forth in the sharing of feelings with them, responding with your thoughts and feelings about their thoughts and feelings. Notice and share each emotion you are having when your loved one relates an emotion they are having. This back and forth sharing of emotions of both of you, especially the happy ones, is the emotional intercourse that jointly grows happy love. (See the mini-love-lesson “Emotional Intercourse”).
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
What do you think of the idea of becoming ‘a happy love farmer’?