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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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It's Easier to Love Someone When You Make Them Happy

Uploaded: Dec 9, 2014
I saw this quote in a book I'm reading, and it struck a chord in me. It made me think of all of you.

It is easier to love someone when you can see, hear, and feel that you are making them happy. Let me be clear though: it is not our job to make another person happy.

Much of happiness comes from inside: when we are well and taking care of ourselves, exercising, plus we're engaged with our mate, kids, friends, community, and doing work and activities that suit us.

And yet, couples can add to the happiness of one another ? or not.

When my husband is tired after work, and I bring him a glass of fizzy water, he looks into my eyes and thanks me. I know I have made him happy in this small way, and his happiness rubs off on me. When I rub his upper arms and shoulders, and he gets goose-bumps, I can feel his pleasure under my fingertips.

When all of his boys were here, and our home was full to overflowing, with loud and witty conversations late into the night, he looked at me as if I had somehow made all this happen; I could see gratitude in his shining blue eyes.

He tells me I make him feel like a million bucks.

Do you think this encourages me to want to make him happy? Hell yes!

I want to make him happy. And I want to leave space for his other feelings, too (especially now when his mom is dying).

When he dances with me in the living room, just because, I am happy. When he says I am so good at my work, and the most compassionate person he knows, I am happy. He proof reads for me. I bounce ideas off him, and he listens closely. If I made a list of ways that he adds to my happiness, it would be a long one: the main one is that he accepts me for who I am, with my light, my flaws, my experiences, my ongoing growth.

He wants to make me happy.

Usually couples don't actively want to make their mate unhappy. They just want what they want. Or they want to be right. Or they want to blame. Or they are wounded and it comes out toward the other. And the result is both parties are unhappy.

I'm not even talking about compromise here. Just take a look around, and experiment with a few small, medium or large things you can do or say that might make your mate happy. See what happens for a month.

Over time, it becomes an upward spiral of treating each other well. We like to say: "See what you get for how you've been acting."

Comments

 +   4 people like this
Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Dec 9, 2014 at 10:05 am

I love your blog! I bring my husband fizzy water when he's working out in the yard on hot days. (We've decided that he takes care of the outside of the house and I take care of the inside. I hate yard work/gardening and he hates doing dishes so it works out well).
I think this topic meshes well with the Love Language topic of one of your previous blog posts. Knowing what helps your partner feel loved is a great value.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Dec 10, 2014 at 7:42 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thank you, RW, I am glad you love it. Words of affirmation are one of my top love languages :-)


 +   3 people like this
Posted by C. Kaye, a resident of another community,
on Dec 11, 2014 at 12:37 am

Thank you so much for this simple, but strongly profound, wisdom. It surely seems so
important to know what makes your friend or partner feel loved. This wasn't part
of the wisdom thought to be vital back in the sixties. ( Or maybe it was just me who missed it.)
We spent hours on campus then discussing intellectual compatibility.

I don't like learning it 40 years too late, but I love knowing it now.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Dec 12, 2014 at 11:27 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi C., Thanks for adding your thoughts and feelings to this discussion. I am so glad you know it now. It's easy to get stuck in regrets, or for that matter, to spin forward with possibilities. We are here, and we can learn and experiment every day.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Zzzzzz, a resident of Monta Loma,
on Dec 14, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Boring!!!!!!!!!!!!


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Marchment, a resident of Whisman Station,
on Dec 15, 2014 at 2:46 pm

While Zzzzzz may find it boring - I find it short, simple, to the point - and entirely true! Receiving the gift of kindness and happiness is hard to come by these days, with everyone overworked and stressed out all the time. Some of the best things in life are the simplest things, and free! Bring on the arm rubs, dancing in the living room, and compliments - and let Zzzzzz go take a nap! :-)


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