“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.” – William Shakespeare
Last week we started our two-part series on how celebrating our spouse can sculpt a positive marriage. By saying positive comments, celebrating good news, and creating an awe wall, you will be well on your way to reinforcing a happy relationship. When we celebrate each other we feel closer, happier, and more secure in ourselves and our relationship.
This week, we want to discuss an additional three ways that you can celebrate your spouse.
4. Don’t neglect the celebration of sex
There’s no dancing around this topic, it is what it states – don’t neglect the celebration of sex! When it comes to celebrating each other, sex is one of the greatest activities a couple can participate in.
The oxytocin we release when we have sex with our spouse is often referred to as the hormone of love, or the cuddle chemical. It’s no secret that oxytocin is a feel good chemical and is associated with feelings of bonding and trust, and can even reduce stress.
In a study, couples who reported above-average sexual satisfaction in their marriage were ten to thirteen times more likely to describe their marriage as “very happy” compared with those who reported below average sexual satisfaction. It doesn’t always have to be spontaneous – in fact there are many couples who plan sex into their calendar. So don’t be afraid to plan the celebration of sex into your life with your spouse – and you will reap the benefits!
5. Listen to the music
Did you know that a powerful song can evoke a deep emotional response? This is a result of dopamine – a “reward” neurotransmitter. Have you ever had “the chills” when you’ve listened to one of your favorite songs? This is the dopamine hard at work in your brain.
Music activates parts of the brain that trigger happiness. A song we like can cause our brain to fire off with delight. So how can we attribute this to our spouse? You can listen to songs that are tied to memories. A first kiss, or your first dance at your wedding? You get the idea. You can make a playlist for your partner and listen to this music. You can do this together, or apart.
The gift of music runs deep. It’s essential to bring music into the arena of celebrating each other. As Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on.”
6. Be generous in spirit
Couples who report a high amount of generosity in their relationship are five times more likely to say their marriage is very happy. When we celebrate each other with generosity, it comes from the heart. So how do we cultivate a generous spirit in our relationships?
- The first task is to put away the scoreboard. This may be hard for some, but if you are keeping track of who gets what, you’ll never get there!
- Second, focus on what your spouse likes. It doesn’t have to be anything that is elaborate or expensive. A little bit goes a long way. Does it mean a lot to your spouse when you bring them a cup of coffee in the morning? Maybe by sweeping the porch, or simply watching their favorite movie with them? Generosity works best when it signals to your spouse that you know them and their personal desires well.
- Third, don’t neglect the intangibles. Sometimes generosity is when we give our spouse the benefit of the doubt by not reasoning with them or asking questions, or by crediting our spouse for a good idea. And generosity is certainly found when we give our time. A generous spirit sets selfishness aside and gives.
- Lastly, remember to give without expecting anything in return. Generosity is never a down payment on something you’ve been wanting. Generosity is only as valid as the motivation behind it. It must come from the heart with no strings attached.
Celebrating each other chips away at whatever is holding us captive. By celebrating we evoke the best in each other – which in turn helps both partners come closer to reaching their best selves.
We’d love to hear from you in the comments! Share a fond memory of when your spouse celebrated you – or when you celebrated your spouse. How did this make you feel?