We aren’t talking about homeland security. But we are borrowing this phrase to teach
you to heighten your awareness and increase your capacity to notice more positive
moments with your partner.
How often do you find yourself blurting out empty comments to your spouse? “You
always make us late!” or “Why did you do it that way?” Scientists believe our brains are
like velcro for negative experiences and teflon for positive ones. Many of us tend to
blurt out criticism freely when it comes to our loved ones.
However, the same scientists believe we can retrain our brains by seeing something
positive and then saying something about it. You can literally change your hardwiring in
your brain to be more upbeat and celebratory. It begins with noticing something
positive and then saying something to your spouse to reinforce what you saw. If your
spouse picks up a mess in the living room, say “thank you!” If your spouse does the
laundry, say “I really appreciate you doing our laundry so nicely.” Let them know you
notice them and appreciate what they do.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it can be short and sweet. Be on the lookout for any
chance you have to pass on a compliment, show appreciation, or let them know you
notice something positive they did. A little bit of reinforcement can go a long way.

Research reveals that most of us don’t fully engage with our partner over the positive
news as we do with negative news. It’s more likely that spouses will indulge and camp
out in a conversation over the bad or disappointing things that happen on a daily basis,
than have an upbeat conversation over good news.
How can you change this? You don’t need to ignore the crummy news or happenings of
the day, but you should try and celebrate positive experiences each day as well. Even
by celebrating the small things this will reinforce a healthy relationship!
For example, maybe your partner reached a big goal at the gym, or had a meaningful
interaction with a colleague over lunch. By acknowledging these moments with an
active and constructive response that’s heartfelt, you will sculpt a positive marriage.
And couples who do this tend to be those who are happiest together!

This last tip is for those who fall into the pessimistic category – those who have a
tendency to expect the worst, and see the worst. We learned this tip from a research

associate at the University of Pennsylvania, Karen Reivich. Karen created an “awe wall”
that was covered with her children’s photos, poems, and happy memories.
In fact, we have created an awe wall for our marriage in our kitchen. It’s filled with
things that heighten our awareness and amazement. The board is continually
changing, and sparks countless conversations. It’s a constant reminder of the positive
things in our life.  Strategies like an “awe wall” used consistently over time will lead to a
long-lasting change and a more celebratory spirit. Pessimism atrophies when we
deliberately focus on noticing the good instead of the bad!

There’s no dancing around this topic, it is what it states – don’t neglect the celebration
of sex! When it comes to celebrating each other, sex is one of the greatest activities a
couple can participate in.
The oxytocin we release when we have sex with our spouse is often referred to as the
hormone of love, or the cuddle chemical. It’s no secret that oxytocin is a feel good
chemical and is associated with feelings of bonding and trust, and can even reduce
In a study, couples who reported above-average sexual satisfaction in their marriage
were ten to thirteen times more likely to describe their marriage as “very happy”
compared with those who reported below average sexual satisfaction. It doesn’t always
have to be spontaneous – in fact there are many couples who plan sex into their
calendar. So don’t be afraid to plan the celebration of sex into your life with your
spouse – and you will reap the benefits!

Did you know that a powerful song can evoke a deep emotional response? This is a
result of dopamine – a “reward” neurotransmitter. Have you ever had “the chills” when
you’ve listened to one of your favorite songs? This is the dopamine hard at work in your
Music activates parts of the brain that trigger happiness. A song we like can cause our
brain to fire off with delight. So how can we attribute this to our spouse? You can listen
to songs that are tied to memories. A first kiss, or your first dance at your wedding? You
get the idea. You can make a playlist for your partner and listen to this music. You can
do this together, or apart.
The gift of music runs deep. It’s essential to bring music into the arena of celebrating
each other. As Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on.”


Couples who report a high amount of generosity in their relationship are five times
more likely to say their marriage is very happy. When we celebrate each other with
generosity, it comes from the heart. So how do we cultivate a generous spirit in our
 The first task is to put away the scoreboard. This may be hard for some, but if you are
keeping track of who gets what, you’ll never get there!
 Second, focus on what your spouse likes. It doesn’t have to be anything that is
elaborate or expensive. A little bit goes a long way. Does it mean a lot to your spouse
when you bring them a cup of coffee in the morning? Maybe by sweeping the porch, or
simply watching their favorite movie with them? Generosity works best when it signals
to your spouse that you know them and their personal desires well.
 Third, don’t neglect the intangibles. Sometimes generosity is when we give our spouse
the benefit of the doubt by not reasoning with them or asking questions, or by crediting
our spouse for a good idea. And generosity is certainly found when we give our time. A
generous spirit sets selfishness aside and gives.
 Lastly, remember to give without expecting anything in return. Generosity is never a
down payment on something you’ve been wanting. Generosity is only as valid as the
motivation behind it. It must come from the heart with no strings attached.
Celebrating each other chips away at whatever is holding us captive. By celebrating we
evoke the best in each other – which in turn helps both partners come closer to
reaching their best selves.

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