Like most of the nation, I’ve been dealing with the Polar Vortex and all the fun weather that comes along with the instability happening with Mr. Vortex and his friend, Mr. Jet Stream.
Sitting here watching the snow fall outside of my living room window makes me happy. It’s just so beautiful. Every snowflake is different, formed in magical ways, and settling together to make drifts upon drifts of fluffy white landscapes for my enjoyment. It got me thinking about happiness. What makes me happy?
It seems happiness is elusive…or at least what we think will make us happy actually won’t. Case in point, check out this article from LearnVest discussing happiness in the workplace. Workers think they will be happier with more money, a shorter work week, or a promotion but the reality is, none of these makes us happier.
What does? Is happiness just a pie in the sky concept that can never be achieved? But according to the article, happiness is attainable:
The secret, according to a 2010 study by researchers at Harvard, is being engaged in whatever you’re doing in that moment. In fact, they found that at any given moment, 46.9% of us are thinking about the past or the future, instead of where we are in the present. So the next time you get a week, or a mere afternoon off, the trick to greater bliss is to devote your whole self to the time you have, whether it’s spent climbing a mountain, booking a yoga class or just sipping a frothy latte at your favorite cafe.
Now that we know happiness is possible, I sat down to figure out what I needed to feel in the moment in marriage. Surprisingly, what makes me happy is rather simple and doesn’t involve hot air balloons, dozens of roses, or thousands of dollars worth of sparkly jewelry.
Yes, yes, I know happiness comes from within, but let’s face it, there are things that we do for each other in the hopes of eliciting happy feelings in our partner. If we never tried to make our spouses happy, our relationships would look a lot more like two college roommates just sharing a crash pad and occassionally hanging out over bowls of ramen noodles cooked in the communal hot pot.
The point is, I used to roll up my sleeves, chop peppers, onions and garlic and rub spices on three racks of pork ribs for Husband #2. I am not a pork fan but he is. My pork cooking efforts were entirely for his benefit. And he knew it. And he appreciated it. At least I think so…he was too busy sucking down ribs to do more than grunt and smile in my direction. At least I hope it was a smile.
So part of my personal “Dr. Phil introspection” was to put together a list of what I wanted out of a relationship. Or, as Husband #2 would call it, The Script.
Here they are in no particular order…the things that make me happy in a relationship:
- Look me in the eyes and tell me, “I love you and can’t imagine my life without you in it”
- Grab me and hug me
- Go overboard with my birthday
- Tell me how you think about me when we’re apart
- Tell me I’m more important to you than anyone else
- Tell me you value my input/opinion/perspective even if you don’t agree with it
- Ignore your cell phone when we’re out on date night
- Share your feelings and ideas with me
- Tell me the truth
- Tell me you’re angry instead of hiding it
- Tell me you would do it all over again
- Join me in daydreaming about the future
- Tell me you love looking at me naked
- Hold my hand
- Kiss me hello
- Kiss me goodbye
- Whisper in my ear, even if it’s just to say you want popcorn
- Touch me softly, like I’m fragile
- Call to say you were thinking of me
- Introduce me in strange company
- Let me be happy and bubbly without putting my behavior down
- Help me plan vacations
- Whisper something naughty in my ear when we’re out in public
- Talk to me, not other people, about our problems
- Offer comfort when I’m hurt
- Stand up for me if someone is being disrespectful towards me
- Let me be ambitious without putting me down
- Let me care about you
These little things are big things to me. And when they happen, my world lights up like fireworks on the 4th of July!