What is joy?
Joy is an emotional mix of delight and happiness. Joy uplifts us at our deepest level of self, and often inspires love, excitement, hope, fulfillment, and a feeling of richness to life. Joy is simple, yet also deeply impactful.
Joy is an emotion we often do not give enough credit to, and as adults, we tend to forget about prioritizing it, altogether.
Cultivating joy is not only important in your own life, but also in your partnerships. In fact, joy within your partnership is not only pleasant, but also an absolute necessity to creating a healthy, stable relationship, or saving a flailing one.
Below I share 3 effective ways to begin to cultivate joy together, as a couple.
- Discuss with your partner what foods bring you both joy- like complete and utter joy. Think, “What food as a child got me jumping up and down?” Then make dates on the calendar for experiences in sharing these foods with each other. *For extra credit, designate one date for one food type, and switch who gets to share, for every other date.
- Find a notable, trashy, or plain-bad tv show to watch together, that brings you joy. Then watch it together, once a week. OR Have a conversation about comedians or comedy you both have appreciated currently, or in the past. Then go about exploring the content and styles of this comedy together. When you discover what you both find joy with, make time once a week to watch/listen/read the comedy together, for at least 30 minutes.
- Spend time separately, reflecting on past experiences of joy the two of you or the family you have created together. Make thirty minutes in your week to sit down and share about these memories of joy. Share these memories in detail, as though you are narrating them as happening in the present moment. Take turns together, narrating.
Many have reported that these practices of joy help them tremendously. If you commit to one, two, or all three of these practices, you will begin to inject some levity and workability into a marriage or partnership that has previously felt burdened and painful.
And, of course, it is always important to seek professional help, if you and your partner find you cannot overcome dynamics and patterns together that make you both miserable. There is no shame in acknowledging you need some help. We all lack the ability and foresight to solve all our own problems, on our own, all the time. Seek a skilled couples counselor, therapist, or relationship coach, if you would like some greater structure and accountability to healing and perhaps saving your relationship.
I wish you well on your journey to cultivating joy together!
- *** This article was originally submitted to California Relationship Centers, and has been modified for Medium.com.****