February is Marriage Month!

Image by jcoterhals via Flickr

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togevah today. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam…

Up to now, my Happiness Project focus areas have been mostly internal. This month I begin turning that focus outward, starting with the person who’s, you know, flesh of my flesh and all that. Or maybe I’m flesh of his flesh. Either way, we’re pretty close.

At any rate, without further ado:

February 2011 – Marriage
Focus: Increase happiness in my bond with my husband.


Make eye contact. This seems simple, but I realize I actually don’t do it as often as I might. So many times when my husband and I are together, one or both of us are engaged in another task. This month, I’ll make a point of looking him in the eye more, especially when we’re talking to one another.

Criticize with love (or not at all). I have a tendency to nitpick and to deliver my criticisms with sarcasm rather than gentleness and love. When my daughter yells at her brother to startle him into dropping the thing she wants to play with, I tell her to think about the long-term goal of harmony and a loving relationship with her brother rather than the short-term goal of just getting what she wants at that moment. I would probably do well to take my own advice. This month, I’ll try to slow down and think about how important the thing is I want to complain about, whether right then is the right time or if it should wait, or if perhaps this is something I just want to drop. If I decide to bring it up, I will do my best to do so while making eye contact and speaking in a gentle voice.

Verbalize the positives. This is the flip-side of the last resolution. Some days it seems like the only things I say to my husband are criticisms. But even on the worst day, he really does a lot of things that are sweet and helpful. This month, I’ll make a point of mentioning those things he’s done that are “good” things. Then maybe that will cancel out some of the effect of the critical comments I make to him and get me into a frame of mind to notice the sweet things he does at least as much as I do the annoying things.

Touch. The kids demand a lot of physical contact—holding, hugging, snuggling, nursing. With all of that touching, I tend to forget about (or some days actively avoid) physical contact with my husband. We both can go until bedtime before we realize we’ve not hugged each other at all during that day. This month, I’m going to try to add little touches when we’re together. A hug, a pat on his leg, resting my hand on his arm or his back, a little kiss.

There are so many other things I’ve considered making a part of this month, but I’m going to leave it at these four things.

Today we’re traveling to Florida to visit family (both his and mine) for just over a week. Traveling is usually very stressful for me, and I have a habit of lashing out at my mate during stressful times. This will be an interesting challenge. Or being that I’ve scheduled this to post while we’re in the air, I suppose this is an interesting challenge.

As always, I will continue to practice those resolutions I’ve put in place in previous months. For my complete Happines Project Schedule, click the link to the left.

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