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Be Kind, Be Mine
Posted: 2/14/2012 | Relationships Comments
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It's Valentine’s Day, and our thoughts naturally turn to love.

A friend of mine woke up this morning with a craving for donuts. Her husband ran out and bought her favorite kind, even before he had his morning coffee. He came back with her donuts and a big bouquet of flowers in her favorite colors. This isn’t uncommon at the beginning of a romantic relationship, but when those heady hormones ebb and fade, when we’re no longer motivated by the ecstatic longing and connection, it’s kindness that sustains our commitment to one another.
 
According to the New York Times article, “The Generous Marriage,” researchers from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project found that generosity was the key to a happy marriage. In this study, generosity was defined as, “The virtue of giving good things to one’s spouse freely and abundantly.” According to the article, “Men and women with the highest scores on the generosity scale were far more likely to report that they were ‘very happy’ in their marriages.”
 
How can we be generous to our spouses, not just on Valentine’s Day but as a daily practice? There are millions of ways to demonstrate our generosity and kindness. We show our compassion in simply listening while the other shares a story from their day. We are kind when we make our loved one a cup of tea or run them a bath when they’re tired. We might share a love note, or simply tell them we love them. We might rub their shoulders at the end of a hard day. We can offer a hug and a smile. We can forgive our spouses for their mistakes, again and again. And we can forgive ourselves.
 
“Generosity is going above and beyond the ordinary expectations with small acts of service and making an extra effort to be affectionate,” says researcher W. Bradford Wilcox. “Living that spirit of generosity in a marriage does foster a virtuous cycle that leads to both spouses on average being happier in the marriage.”
 
Our generosity and kindness does not have to be reserved for our spouses alone. We can extend our kindness and affection to all our relationships, creating a space of acceptance for our coworkers, our neighbors, our family, our friends and especially our children. A wonderful side-affect is that when we accept others, we can’t help but be kind and accepting of ourselves.
 
Flowers are lovely, but to truly nurture and sustain a relationship we must practice compassion on a daily basis. Spend a little time today thinking of ways you can be kind to your partner and other loved ones. As we focus on our generous nature, we create ease and abundance in our lives, foster a deeper sense of connection and experience greater happiness. This is love!
 
Please let me know your thoughts. Your sharing helps us all.



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