Did you know that celebrating your relationship can actually enhance it??
Often when we actively focus on our intimate relationships we focus on what is wrong with them.
This might be because when everything is going ok we tend to put them on automatic pilot.
We unconsciously believe that our relationships will take care of themselves and that they will always be there when we want them. Kind of like falling back into our favourite old sofa with the faded cushions, or our favourite David Bowie tshirt worn soft with washing.
This is SO not true.
Our relationships are a reflection of ourselves.
And like us, they’re a force of nature that is always changing.
Our relationships are either growing or dying, they’re never standing still.
That’s why taking the time to celebrate them is a good thing.
It helps them to grow. Celebrating our relationships is like sprinkling them with a dose of water, sunshine and a dash of Miracle-Gro.
This might sound like a fairly superficial thing to do.
Yet researchers at Stanford University in the US have found celebration has such a positive effect it’s set to become the next big thing, the new wave of gratitude.
Why is this so?
Well, it’s partly because we so often focus on the negative, or fear producing parts of our relationships.
We do this because our minds most instinctive response is to protect us, to keep us safe, in order to procreate the species.
And to show us where change is needed. Fear = action = change.
The downside of this protection is that can make our relationships appear in our minds to be more negative than they really are. Which is reinforced by something called confirmation bias. Our minds keep looking for what is familiar that make it seem true. This is our tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of our existing beliefs or theories.
Which can lead us to feeling stuck in our relationships.
We just ruminate on the bad bits without actually doing anything constructive to change what’s not working.
This mindset can also lead us to unconsciously see our partners as a source of pain, rather than one of love or pleasure. Which causes us to unconsciously put up walls to protect ourselves when we’re around them.
Which makes deep intimacy, the place where our walls come down a little (or a lot) so we can connect with each other, seem scary. At least, scarier than it otherwise might be.
Deep intimacy always involves a little bit of fear, because of its very nature. It’s more than just sharing our time, company and points of view. It’s about revealing parts of ourselves we otherwise keep hidden from the world.
So, celebrating our relationships works at many levels to enhance them.
Celebrating reminds us of what is good in our intimate relationships.
Celebration not only makes us feel good, it draws us closer together. Because it helps us to open our hearts. It even works on our unconscious mind. It helps this part of us to see our partner as a positive source of love and pleasure. This helps us drop our walls around them a bit more, creating more rewarding intimacy.
How DO we go about celebrating our relationships?
It doesn’t have to be anything large.
The main thing is that it is genuine.
It can be:
- As simple as taking the time to hold your partner and look them in the eye. Then saying “Out of all the people in the world I’m really glad I am sharing my life with you
- Reflect on some wonderful times you’ve had together (even if they were a long time ago).
- Having dinner together, getting dressed up, making it a special occasion. Doing it with the intention of celebrating your relationship
- Buying your partner some flowers, or a small, meaningful gift you made
- Trying a new adventure activity together- hiking, skiing etc
- Go out for ice cream in your pyjamas
- Reflect on the your best lovemaking experience- what made it great?
- Go to the beach and build a sandcastle that reflects your relationship
- Read parts of a steamy novel to each other
- Make love slooowly- whilst celebrating all the times you have made love together
- Play hide and seek- spice it up!
- Watch a sunset or gaze at the stars or the moon together
- Do couples yoga
- Play “never have I ever” and learn something new about each other
- Write each other a love letter
- Have a photo shoot, take playful shots of each other and make a collage
- Do whatever it is that is fun for the two of YOU.