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Sex & Meditation Have the Same Affect On Your Brain

By Vicki Howie | Chakraboosters.com

sexI recently discovered a study that suggests that orgasm has an effect on your brain that’s almost identical to meditation.

This means you can sit alone on a tiny cushion or jump into bed with your lover, and get similar benefits to your general zen-ness and overall brain bliss.

Very cool.

I’ve long considered sex to be a sacred act, and I’m excited that we now have a little bit of scientific proof.

The study, summarized in Scientific American, says similar regions light up in the right-brain during orgasm and meditation.  But, according to the article, there is one key difference:

“Unlike meditation, orgasm seems a heightened sense of being within one’s body rather than the sense of being outside of it.”

As a lover of tantric philosophy, I just want to say — finally, there’s evidence that we can experience sacred bliss by going deeper into a physical experience, rather than moving away from it.

The bias over a few thousands of years of classical yogic thinking has been that “enlightenment” comes from moving away from one’s lower (temptation-oriented chakras) towards the upper, more “spiritual” chakras.

The word itself – “enlightenment” – contains “light” because of this preference for moving into the lighter (higher) chakras.  We also have words like “ascension” and “higher self” that refer to supposedly greater states of spirituality.

But maybe, just maybe, we don’t have to go “upward” to get in touch with our divine essence.  Maybe we can experience profound spirituality by being more deeply present and aware in our body as we share a loving, physical connection with another.

And maybe our lower chakras are as big of a part of our spirituality as our upper chakras.  I for one, am all for chakra equality.

vicki howie

Vicki Howie is the Creator of Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™ (find out what inspired her to create them here). Check out her new book “The Key to Your Chakras” here on amazon.com. Vicki is also the Creator of Chakra Love and the Chakra Life Cycle System®, as well as the Co-Editor of Conscious Life News. You can visit her website chakraboosters.com, facebook page and youtube channel for lots of free chakra info and gifts. Vicki’s biggest joy is to help you unleash your full chakra power and step into your highest potential.

 




How to Be a Conscious Responder & Not an Emotional Reactor

Image result for respond consciouslyI think it’s a fair assumption to say that we have all had a relationship at one time or another in our lives. I’m not referring solely to the romantic kinds of relationships people tend to put much energy into looking for. We’ll be talking today about the entire spectrum of relationships from parent/child, teacher/student, brother/sister, and everything in between.

So often we get caught up playing specific roles in our relationship where one person does this and the other does that and if those roles are not completed for whatever reason, well this can often lead to the other party getting pissed off, hurt, confused, etc. Depending on the actual circumstances, a myriad of things could occur that could even lead to the relationship itself terminating.

But are other people’s actions ever really about us? Well, yes and no and it all depends on our level of Self or Conscious Awareness. One thing to keep in mind is that how people act and RE-act is always a testament to whether they are in an emotionally-fueled reaction driven usually by our fears and insecurities, or a state of heart-based conscious response.

When we immediately fly off the handle because someone is being rude to us for no reason, what is actually occurring is we are making their actions about us. When, if we know we haven’t done anything, intentionally or not, to cause such a thing, then why do we justify their actions by responding back the same exact way?

Well, for one if we are at their level of consciousness, we may not even know we have another choice in how to respond. Or we may have been told that letting someone talk to us “that way” is not respecting yourself. Well, truth is, a person’s opinion of you must first have value to you, in order for it to actually cause you disrespect. So, if a random stranger having a bad day, flipping you the bird because THEY can’t control their rage and need an unfamiliar outlet to pour onto to has value to you, then, by all means, soak up their rage and act just as moronic and crazy as they just did to you!

Do you see how this happens every day in our world and in so many corners of society? How we are all mirrors just reflecting and bouncing our feelings, thoughts, and words of one another? But what if, instead of taking offense, instead of believing everything “out there” that the world often shoves into our perceptions, we choose to KNOW our OWN truth about ourselves and simply live it?

What happens when this occurs? Well for one we become peaceful. And this state of peace becomes precious. So precious in fact that something like a random ticked of rage-road infested driver could never and would never be worthy of taking such a thing from you. This is not an act of ego or judgment but in fact the complete opposite. It is an act of self-love and simple acceptance that you see the person for what THEY are, and choose to allow THEM to keep it to themselves.

This might seem new or foreign to many of us, but the more we practice this and use our “take a moment before responding” muscle, the easier it becomes. And this isn’t a call to become an emotionless zombie, but rather an invitation to take a look at how often you are letting situations that really have no bearing on your overall life really affect it and your overall mood in a big way. So, ask yourself…is it worth it? Image result for respond consciously

When we discipline ourselves to shift from an “emotional reactor” to a “conscious responder”, we are literally re-training our minds to lean less on others and be more trusting of ourselves. One could say we are exercising our self-reliance muscles because the more we learn to give, ourselves the chance to CHOOSE our own reactions, the more we are telling ourselves, “Hey, I trust YOU over what the outside world is attempting to get me to believe right now.”

So, really it’s like becoming a spiritual alchemist of sorts and learning to master the art of balancing life with love and logic. If we can look at the world, but not be blind to its filters and effects on our perceptions, we allow our sight to stay in love. If we can think of the world as a classroom and instead of getting pissed off at things and taking offense, we instead begin to look at them as lessons and learning experiences.

The more you do this, the more you will find in your life and in yourSELF to be grateful for. And when you love yourself enough from a place of conscious awareness, the world tends to love you back just as hard. And you’ll come to find that where you used to lean and perhaps get dropped, knocked over, etc. now holds you strong and without fear of falling. And you know why? Because like our friend the bird, we no longer rely solely on the branch, but rather on our own wings.

 

tamaraTamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

Follow Tamara on FacebookTwitter and Google+

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




A Scientific Look at: Is Masturbation Good for You? (Video)

Video Source: AsapSCIENCE

Studies show that 95% of men and 72% of women have masturbated (and that’s not counting the ones who won’t admit it). But still, there is a huge cultural taboo around it.

The guys at ASAP Science take a look at whether science supports masturbation as a healthy activity. And no, we won’t put the conclusion here and ruin it for you.

Watch the video and find out.

Related Posts: 

Sexuality and Culture

Sexual Self-Love: 11 Benefits of Performing ‘Menage a Moi’

Men: Here Are The Key Dos and Don’ts That Will Help You Last Longer in Bed




Personal Purpose: An Easier Way to Find Your Way

Image result for purpose in lifeWhat does it mean to have a purpose in life? I guess the better question is, what does it mean to you? And do you have yours?

Personally, I feel that to have a purpose in your life is simply to have come to the realization that by following your joy and living in joy IS living purposefully; because if you think about it, whenever anyone does anything they enjoy doing, they are ALL IN. They are doing, being, and living…with PURPOSE.

And this is the key! Purpose in and of itself is not something we ever need to find or discover, but rather simply acknowledge is ever-present and unfolding through our own creative expressions. Unfortunately, this is not something we are taught in school and many of let go of our instinct to follow our joy at a very young age. We simply stop creating from that place of authenticity and rather let the outer world begin to mold us instead. And while that not entirely a bad thing, we as humans need a serious wake-up call in how we are living and dying because in this day and age the terms are becoming synonymous.

Now, I’m not talking about Mom letting you stick your finger in a light socket and hurt yourself just because you think it might be “fun” at the moment. What I mean is, if you are coloring and really into it, you are living purposefully as a creative child…in joy. And whenever possible, it is a parent’s responsibility to let children be joyous. So, I’m offering an example of a situation when it might be okay to let a child keep coloring into his “bath time” if you can see how happy and engaged he may be…the bath can wait a bit longer, can it not?

When we snap children abruptly out of their joy, we teach them immediately to become people-pleasers. They learn that their joy is not very important and may even end up adults who feel bad about feeling good (sound familiar to anyone?). Now, there is, of course, good measure in teaching social skills to encourage sharing, kindness, and compassion, however, it is vital to never sever a child’s connection to their knowledge of how important it is to follow their joy. This is perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn from them.

If you ask someone if they’re happy, do you notice how many people will actually pause before they answer? Sadly, most people have NO idea what makes them happy, they just know that “happiness” is something they are supposed to want. As if it is some dreamy ideal that will always just be out of arm’s reach and if they just work hard enough and put their own joy aside long enough…it will be “earned”.

NO.

It doesn’t work that way. We do not “earn” happiness or joy! But we sure do spend a ton of time keeping it from ourselves and convincing ourselves how undeserving we are of it; all the while telling ourselves it’s exactly what we are “working towards”. It’s the perfect paradox to keep us in victim/savior mode and the cogs of dissonance turning. Why oh why do we do this to ourselves?

Happiness is a not a concept or tangible object. It is a choice, a state of mind; of being. It is not something we put on someone we love to do for us, fueled by expectations and wrapped in conditions that must be adhered to. Happiness is ours. It always has been and always will be. It is only when we give it up to another, do we surrender to the false belief that we no longer have the power or the choice to be happy, but now must earn it from outside sources.

Looking at the state of our society today, you can see how this has played out with so many people taking depression and anxiety medication, bullying, eating disorders, etc. It’s like no one knows who they are, only who they were told to be, and are so emotionally off-balance because they feel they are failing at life for not fitting a mold that was never meant for them to begin with.

It is usually when we have run out of resources, excuses, or both that we finally surrender to the fact that the only way out of our suffering is through it. The second we choose to ALLOW joy into our space, our consciousness, our life, it WILL come. And once it does, the fears your face will always dissipate by simply doing so, thus igniting the flood of creative expression which flows and reconnects you to your purpose.

Some of us can spend an entire lifetime trying to find out what we are even doing here. And sadly, some of us may never find out because we get caught up in the search. But it doesn’t have to be that way…for any of us. Because to find your purpose really is as simple as following your joy. When you are doing what you love, you are literally creating a portal that creates a space that acts as a beacon for others to do the same.

As the saying goes, if you want love…be love…and to have love remember you are love. And to see change…we must first be the change we wish to see…XOXO

 

Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

Follow Tamara on FacebookTwitter and Google+

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




How to Have a Healthy Sex Life in a Christian Marriage

When Christians think of sexual behavior, it’s often thought of in a negative context. Don’t have sex before marriage, don’t look at pornography, etc. What often goes undiscussed when it comes to sex is how to make it work in a marriage. It’s important to discuss this positive aspect of sexual behavior for Christian couples to have a healthy marriage. Here are some tips for having a healthy sex life within your marriage.

1. Pursuing sexual purity

Sexual behavior, as God intended, is meant to be a pure act of love between a husband and a wife. Any form of sexual behavior outside of that is impure and ungodly. Husbands are primarily responsible for maintaining this purity. In many cases throughout the Bible, the men are the ones who struggle to act in a manner that’s sexually pure. In fact, in the Gospels, Jesus specifically focuses on instructing the men to not to look at the women with lust. He even goes so far as to say one is committing adultery in their heart. This reflects the seriousness that men need to approach sexual purity.

Husbands need to only focus their sexual interest on their wives. The common pitfalls of sexual impurity are the Internet and television. Much of today’s content is filled with sexual behavior that can easily entice men to lust for other women. It’s important for husbands to place filters that block out this content on all their devices. This will allow men to avoid the temptation of lusting after other women. Another helpful tip for husbands is to have accountability partners. Men should discuss their successes and failures with someone regularly, so they can feel encouraged and motivated to stay sexually pure.

In addition to having an accountability partner, it’s also essential for husbands to share their struggles with their wives. Men should discuss all of the sexual temptations that are difficult for them. This will establish trust between husbands and wives. The Bible stresses in Ephesians 5 that there shouldn’t be even a hint of sexual immorality among Christians. Husbands can live up to this standard by setting boundaries and seeking support.

2. Engaging in emotional intimacy

Husbands and wives have different needs when it comes to relationships. As the struggles of the previous tip, men typically have physical needs that wives should try to help fulfill. Women are the opposite. They usually have emotional needs that need to be fulfilled first. Then, they feel a desire to engage in sexual behavior. One of the common problems in marriages that have lasted long is men no longer trying to romance their wives. In the early phases of relationships, men tend to do more to earn the affection of women. Once a commitment such as marriage has been established, men can feel less of the need to do the work necessary to earn their wife’s affection.

It’s important to keep doing things that make your wife feel loved and appreciated. Men should plan dinners, romantic activities, and other forms of quality time to maintain that emotional intimacy. They should continue to express how much they value their wives through special gifts, love letters, and other romantic gestures. When women feel loved and appreciated, they feel more of a physical desire to have sex with their husbands. Emotional intimacy is a critical component of establishing a healthy sex life within a Christian marriage.

3. Practicing non-sexual contact

Non-sexual contact is vital for husbands to make their wives feel appreciated. Women like to know that they are more than just sexual objects to their husbands. They want to also feel protected and comforted by their husband’s touch. Acts of non-sexual touch, such as cuddling, help women to know that they’re loved by their husbands. Men should make it habit to have non-sexual touch with their wives. Different forms of non-sexual touch can include holding hands, cuddling without touching intimate parts, and kisses without going into sexual behavior. This helps wives to feel loved, and when they feel loved, they feel more aroused and ready for sex with their husbands.

4. Embracing one’s sexuality

This is particularly a problem for women more than men. Women are raised to be modest and not overtly sexual in any way. If women ever veer from that image, they’re often viewed negatively. It’s an unfortunate double standard in comparison to men who are often praised in society for displaying their sexuality. In addition to the double standard, churches can sometimes go to the extreme of emphasizing the evilness of any display of sexuality outside of marriage. While it’s crucial to emphasize sexuality only being proper in marriage, doing it to the extreme can have unintended consequences. Women end up feeling so much shame and guilt attached to sex, that it can feel uncomfortable for them to be sexual with their husbands in marriage.

It gets forgotten that God intended for sex to be a beautiful expression of love between a husband and wife. It’s because of this that wives need to learn and know they can be comfortable being sexual once they’re married. God even encourages it in 1 Corinthians 7. Within a marriage, sex no longer needs to be thought of as a sin. In fact, when you’re married, that’s when sex should be thought of as glorifying God. The Bible isn’t shy about this at all. Proverbs 5:19 tells husbands to enjoy their wives’ breasts. All of this to say, wives can allow themselves to feel comfortable being sexual with their husbands. Women can get insight and encouragement from other women who’ve been married for a long time. Their wisdom and experience will also be helpful in having fulfilling sex within a marriage.

Lastly, Christian spouses should talk about what they were taught in church about sex. If the women heard mostly negative messages, the husband should be patient and encouraging. In time with a continued understanding of the Bible’s support of sex in marriage, the wife can eventually become comfortable enough to be more sexual with their husband.

5. View a husband’s desire for sex as a blessing.

In many Christian marriages and marriages in general, men tend to have higher sex drives than women. As a result, women can sometimes view this as an aggravation, or even worse, something repulsive. Wives need to view their husband’s sexual desire as a blessing. It’s the way that God made men to perfectly match the way that God made women. In addition to being the best nurturers, wives are the best persons to fulfill the unique sexual needs of men. No other creature or thing was designed to perfectly fulfill those desires as wives.

Therefore, women should take pride in being desired by their husbands to fulfill their sexual needs and being the vessel that can best fulfill it. In general, for most men, physical intimacy is the highest form of love they can receive. That’s why they desire it so much. It’s important for wives to make men feel loved in this way, just as much as it is for men to make women feel emotionally loved. A wife fulfilling her husband’s physical needs won’t only make the husband feel loved, but it will also help them to avoid sexual immorality. One of the main purposes of marriage was to help men and women avoid sexual impurity. Paul instructed men and women to marry in 1 Corinthians 7 to remain sexually pure.  Wives should view fulfilling their husband’s sex drive as a way to glorify God and make their marriage be blessed.

6. Enjoy sex.

Sometimes, marriages can get to a point where sex feels more like an obligation than an enjoyable blessing that God intended it to be. In particular, for wives, it’s harder for them to be as sexually driven as men can be. Christian wives may choose to live up to their Biblical roles by having sex with their husbands, even though they don’t feel like it. It’s crucial for both wives and husbands not to approach sex as a duty. To do this, men and women should discuss what naturally makes them feel more interested in sexual relations.

As mentioned earlier, women typically need emotional intimacy to be more interested in sex. Other factors that help husbands arouse their wives include handling household chores. It has been proven that men and women who share in doing the household chores tend to have the most sex. Also, wives can reflect on what it is that helps them to get aroused, and find a way to help their husbands learn how to make them feel that arousal and enjoy sex. Communication between spouses can make a huge difference in sexual pleasure within a marriage.

Use all of these tips to help make your Christian marriage as sexually fulfilling as God intended. Continue to communicate about sex and improve on meeting each other’s needs. You can learn more information about sex within marriage at Never Thirsty.




We Bend, Not to Break – The Art of Embracing Necessary Growth

Image result for personal growthLooking back on my own life, I can quickly refer to the times I totally avoided something (or someone). Whatever the reason, if it was because I wasn’t being true to myself or the situation, well, that is some of the strongest energy to have to work through.

It’s as if there is an unseen but undeniably felt pulling from the ethers when you are not being authentic. The Universe itself shakes you up, but in reality, it is just rippling back to you what you’ve sent out into the world. It took me a long time to understand this infinite, cosmic dance and how to learn to work with it rather than against it.

The first thing I had to do was to stop being someone I wasn’t. I had to let go of behaviors that were not filling my heart up. I used to be a “yes” person and literally did not know how to say “no” to people. This drew in those who were always in need in some shape or form, and while I was often thanked and praised for being “such a good friend”, I often felt drained and empty inside, like there was nothing left to give myself at the end of the day.

When I started to listen to that inner voice (Spirit) and that energetic pull calling me to take better care of myself, my entire life changed. When I stopped denying the fact that I deserved MY help and attention as much as anyone else, and in fact, I should be helping myself first, well, then magical things started to occur in my life; if only because I finally cleaned out the space for them in my life. I made them welcome.

You see, we cannot give from an empty vessel. We must do for ourselves the utmost caregiving in all areas: mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. When we do this, we put ourselves in the space where we can have the most confidence we can be of service to others. We can rest assured we are living a balanced, harmonious life because we know we’ve personally given each of these areas of our lives the attention each deserves; not expecting others to fix things for us, but seeing those people in our lives are mere puzzle pieces in it.

An example of denial would be if you had words or conflict with a friend, co-worker, family member, etc. and then act as nothing has happened. I’ve had experiences with this a couple of times in my life. Once it was a simple misunderstanding, another time the person was just the type to pretend if you don’t talk about things, they just go away. Accountability shows you truly care about others and own up to mistakes. It’s how you earn respect in my opinion because it is a reflection of integrity.

This ties in with the expectations we put on others as well and can be very disrespectful to others, especially if something hurtful, rude, or a genuine misunderstanding did occur. If you act to ignore it, and then furthermore act like you are setting the tone and expect (once again) for the other person to cater to your emotions, well I don’t need to elaborate how that will not help you grow personally or in your relationships.

Image result for personal growth

Growth comes from not avoiding issues or so much trying not to have them, but rather knowing how to handle them when they occur. If you can be open and honest with yourself and with others, you will most likely be an effective communicator and grow quickly from your experiences.

Most of us, however, lol tend to repeat mistakes a few times just to make sure. I think it’s the human way…I know I am one of the most stubborn people on this planet, so I always tend to really learn my lessons. Get them good and deeply ingrained in there so I can grow and expand.  And while I have seen a million teachers in a million different faces, I can always say the girl in the mirror, who was so mean to me for so long, was perhaps my greatest teacher of all; for now, she is my very best friend. <3

 

Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

Follow Tamara on FacebookTwitter and Google+

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

 




How To Improve Physical Intimacy In A Relationship

 

 

Being in a relationship doesn’t always imply having lots of sex whenever you want. Sex is not as simple and exciting as it is shown in movies and written in books. It might be boring and frustrating. Moreover, the lack of sex or the lousy quality of it might be a reason for the number of fights between you and your partner.

Physical intimacy is one of the most important things in a loving relationship. It’s not only about pleasure, but it also indicates trust and passion.

If you stopped enjoying sex with your loved one, you should know that’s it’s not a reason to break up and go dating again (the Tinder world is scary). It only means that it’s time to start working harder on your relationship. The thing is that maintaining a great sexual connection requires constant efforts.

Is it even possible? Oh yes! You can have the best sex in your life with your long-term partner, no matter how many years you spent together (and how many children you raise together). Here is what you need to work on in order to improve physical intimacy in a relationship:

Start a conversation

It all starts with a conversation. Your partner might not even have a clue that you find your sex life boring and frustrating. That’s why you need to talk to your loved one about it. Make sure not to bring this kind of conversation right after sexual intercourse since it might hurt your partner’s feelings deeply.

Find a moment when you are both relaxed sitting on the couch. Avoid blaming your partner for boredom in your bedroom. On the contrary, you should suggest a solution to the existing problem. For instance:

  • I would like to make love to you more often. Let’s travel somewhere over the weekend to have more time for ourselves!
  • I really want to try one thing in bed, and you are the only person who will understand.
  • I need more affection from your side. Don’t mind if we spend some time hugging today?

As you can see, in all these cases, you start the conversation with ‘I’. That’s how you can avoid blaming your partner while bringing up the topic.

Bring some novelty

You need to create a WOW effect so that your partner will be as excited as you are. To do that, do something truly wild and sexy – piper sex doll , sex swing, or edible underwear! Let your partner know that you are eager to experiment and make their deepest sexual fantasies come true.

Also, tell your partner that you are ready to do all these crazy things only because you are in love with them. It will make your loved one feel truly special.

Other than that, consider taking your loved one for a trip at least for a couple of days. Changing locations can also bring some novelty and help to create that WOW effect that was missing in your long-term relationship.

Act like you are on honeymoon

No need to spend your savings to go to Paris just to feel like you are on honeymoon. Just start acting differently. For example, you can start kissing and hugging your partner more often, sending romantic texts in the middle of the day, or buying little presents. It doesn’t cost much, but it can put the sexual spark back in your relationship.

At first, it will be your responsibility to set the mood. After a couple of romantic sessions, your partner will also want to please you the way you want it.

See a therapist

In case you can’t solve your problems with an honest conversation, consider seeing a therapist together. The bad quality of sex life can also be an indicator of serious relationship problems. If you are not able to talk about that and answer a simple question ‘what holds us back’, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

The best way to do that is to go together. However, if you can’t speak with a therapist in front of your partner, you can always make an individual appointment.

Always recognize and respect the boundaries of another person. You should never force physical intimacy or use manipulations in the relationship. The best way to improve your situation is to admit that there is a problem and ask your partner to help you work on it.

The bottom line

To keep your sex life exciting in the relationship, you should be honest and creative. Remember that it is a job for two people. You will not be able to make a difference if your partner is not there for you.

There are so many things that you can do in order to rekindle this relationship. So, keep working because the reward is priceless.




It Turns Out “Happy Wife, Happy Life” is True

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

You’ve heard the saying “happy wife, happy life,” but did you know it’s been scientifically proven to ring true? Researchers at Michigan State University followed 4,500 heterosexual couples for up to eight years to collect data. They discovered a clear association between being married to an optimistic partner and having a reduced risk of developing dementia, cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease into old age.

The researchers suggested that living with an optimistic partner makes you more likely to live a healthier lifestyle, which may lend reason to the connection. Co-author of the study, William Chopik, explained, “We spend a lot of time with our partners. They might encourage us to exercise, eat healthier or remind us to take our medicine. When your partner is optimistic and healthy, it can translate to similar outcomes in your own life. You actually do experience a rosier future by living longer and staving off cognitive illnesses.”

He continued, “There’s a sense where optimists lead by example, and their partners follow their lead. While there’s some research on people being jealous of their partner’s good qualities or on having bad reactions to someone trying to control you, it is balanced with other research that shows being optimistic is associated with perceiving your relationship in a positive light.”

Optimism is associated with greater physical and mental health, and one reason why could be linked to its role in promoting better sleep. In a study of 3,548 people, those who were the most optimistic enjoyed higher quality sleep, hinting at the importance of a positive outlook in getting a good night’s rest. The ability to be optimistic has also been linked to a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. Optimism allows for better immune responsiveness, lower levels of inflammatory markers, and higher levels of heart rate variability, among other benefits.

If you struggle with optimism, there are ways you can learn to be more optimistic. For more info, check out this article.

Read more great articles at mercola.com




5 Essential Marriage Lessons From a Divorce Lawyer Who’s Seen it All

You might think that people get divorced because someone screwed up, but it’s not something that happened suddenly. It is rare that people part ways because of an event unless we are talking about infidelity. Usually, though, it is a long process. Is it possible to stop it before it gets too late? Sure, but you’ll have to put a lot of effort into making your marriage great again. In a second you’ll learn what the things that you should remember about to ensure that your marriage stays healthy are. Let’s go! 

Contempt is the worst!

Many people might think that you should avoid anger at any cost if you want to ensure that your marriage lasts as long as possible. It isn’t true – sometimes anger can motivate people to change something that has a detrimental effect on marriage.

According to the experts at Survive Divorce, the contempt, though, is a clear sign that the marriage is near its end. The person that feels contempt toward their partner no longer feels the desire to repair anything. Making the life of the other person a living hell is the only goal that is worth fulfilling, and it is next to impossible to stop this process. That’s why it is crucial to attempt to understand the motivations behind other people’s actions. 

Communicate your needs!

Although scientists shock us with new inventions every day, it is still impossible to read minds. It means that if you feel unhappy as a result of your partner acting in a particular way, you need to communicate it verbally – eye rolls aren’t enough. If you keep your dissatisfaction inside yourself without telling anyone about it, or worse – telling your friends only, you might discover that there’s a hatred slowly building up in your mind.

 Remember that people have different personalities, and we prioritize different things in our lives, our preferred styles of communication also differ. Although you might think that your sadness is obvious to spot, your partner could disagree with that. That’s why you should just talk about your feelings and needs to your partner. If he dismisses it as gibberish – well, then we have a real problem.

Life is difficult for everyone!

Although you might think that your life is terribly unfair, the same applies to everyone. Sure, the magnitude of our problems differs, but it doesn’t matter how much of an effect they could have on your life – you are the one that has to deal with them. And it can be scary. Sometimes, though, your own problems could make you inattentive to the issues that your spouse has to face. Sure, you might feel that your problems are the worst, but you are in this together, and you cannot, and should not focus solely on yourself. 

You are not your thoughts!

You might notice that for no apparent reason, you have started feeling uncomfortable when near your partner. Before you jump to any conclusions, you should try to think about what could be the reason. You don’t have access to all the inner working of your unconsciousness, but you can try to analyze, step by step, what are the connections your mind is making without informing you about the reasons.

 Maybe your state of mind is caused because you feel defensive about something? Perhaps it is caused by your fear, of feeling inadequate, or not worthy of the attention, and your unconscious mind decides that your relationship is meaningless. If the situation is serious, your efforts to fix your attitude might be fruitless, and you might need to contact a specialist.

Don’t avoid conflict!

Many people think that if only they avoid any conflicts, their marriage will be perfect. That’s dead wrong. Although you might initially think that you two are perfect for each other, you’ll soon discover that not everything is perfect. And that’s okay. Sometimes it will lead to some fights, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Only robots and people who lack personality won’t ever question your actions. The thing is that you should be focused on tackling specific issues, not criticizing your partner just for the sake of it.

 Diligence is needed!

Living with others in harmony is a task that at times could seem impossible. Humans are complex, it is true, but it doesn’t mean that your actions don’t matter. If you follow those rules, your relationship will undoubtedly be in a much healthier state. Hopefully, it will be enough to make your marriage last. We can see a trend of people abandoning the things that don’t work perfectly. Trust me, if you care about your partner, and there’s enough of a goodwill on both sides, you’ll overcome the obstacles. That’s what humans are good at.




12 Ways Your Life Changes After Marriage

Introduction

Ask most newlyweds and they’ll tell you life after marriage can change you in unexpected ways. The  love quotes for weddings you hear in movies will leave you to believe that marriage is all holding hands and happily ever after, but some of these changes can be negative.

But, being aware of how marriage changes you enables you to understand what to expect and control your circumstances.

Here are the 12 most common ways life changes when you get married.

Money:

Money is one of the most obvious and tangible ways a relationship changes after marriage. You’re sharing a life, which means sharing bank accounts. You’re going to be accountable to each other about spending which means impulse spending becomes far less frequent and replaced with more planning and budgeting.

Selfishness:

An immediate change to life after marriage is your state of being. The second you say “I Do” you stop becoming YOU and you become a WE. Each and every decision you make will impact your other half and it’s only natural that you’ll make decisions differently.

Work:

As mentioned, you’ll be making decisions differently after “I Do”, and a lot of this is apparent at work. You’ll often hear about men getting promotions after getting married or having a child. This is a direct result of that motivational shift that marriage triggers.

Habits: 

This part of life after marriage can have a lot of giving and take. Once you’re married you’ll be a lot more concerned about the wellbeing of yourself and your spouse. You’ll be a little more aware of the small and large habits you’ve accumulated throughout your life and make a conscious effort to improve your mental and physical health.

Weekends:

Weekends are all about letting loose and having fun before marriage. After marriage, you’re going to prioritize relaxation and progress. With the hustle of the workweek, couples want to disconnect with the stressors that everyday life presents and spend some quality, quiet time together.

Holidays:

Before marriage holidays mean time off from work. What changes after marriage are how hectic holidays become. You now have to budget your time across two entire families. It makes it easier if everyone can gather around a single table, but more often than not newlyweds travel back and forth between 2 different destinations, doubling the time spent in the car, the emotional effort spent, and associated expenses.

Downtime:

Many couples find themselves planning for alone time instead of looking forward to activities and other things to do after getting married. Once you’re married you’re rarely alone. It may feel difficult to tell your partner that you don’t want to spend every waking second with each other, but time with yourself provides vital self-reflection that’s needed for mental health.

Honesty:

Before you’re married it’s only natural to consistently put your best foot forward. You love the person you’re with and you want to give them the best that you have to offer. After marriage, there’s a mutual understanding that you each love every aspect of each other.

Health:

Married life is busy, which means far less time to exercise. Weight gain is normal. But sharing life demands that you plan larger meals. Planning in advance usually results in more careful consideration of what ingredients are used and less drive-through.

Security:

Before you’re married, you have to wonder what the future holds. Once you’re married, you’ve accomplished something. You feel like ‘you made it’, and it feels very comfortable. You know what life is going to be like tomorrow, next week, and next year.

Sleep:

There’s a weird phenomenon that occurs with married couples. Once you start sleeping next to each other you have to choose a side, and that’s your side for life! Aside from not being able to roll around at your own discretion anymore and potentially having to ensure some snoring, the sleeping situation is pretty good. You develop the habit of going to be around the same time every night.

Sex:

As mentioned earlier you’re never alone, which makes the opportunity to masturbate rarely. When the chance does arrive, you may feel guilty about not saving it for your spouse. However, sex with your spouse more than makes up for that little downside. You’ll be more intimate and discover yourself wanting to try more adventurous things in bed.

Conclusion:

You’ll notice that there are pros and cons to each of the ways life changes after marriage. The trick is to understand what to expect, quickly find a good balance and understand that the negative changes are natural so that you don’t wind up resenting your spouse because of it. Do this and you can take the most advantage of all of the positive changes marriage has to offer.




Signs You’re in a Loveless Marriage (And How to Cope with It)

By Jacqui Olliver | Lifehack

When you are unhappy with your marriage, chances are you may be in a loveless marriage without being aware of it.

Loveless marriages are more common than you think, and there are a variety of solutions to ease the dilemma you may find yourself in. In this article, I will share insights on 3 critical signs of an unhappy marriage, what happens in a marriage without intimacy and whether you should stay in a marriage without love.

Sign #1 You Question Whether Your Partner Still Loves You

Love is a very strong emotion. However, if you find yourself asking whether your partner loves you, it indicates there is a problem in your marriage.

Emotional divides that make you question a partner’s love, can be caused by a lack of communication, conflicting values, sexual incompatibility or too much time focusing on the less than pleasing attributes of your partner.

Some women ask me whether their husbands love them during their consulting sessions. These women had already spent many hours discussing it with their female friends: “He does this and that, but he never tells me he loves me. Does he still love me?”

Males tend to communicate their love more through their actions rather than their words. If his partner then questions his love, it can make him feel unappreciated when he thinks he is showing his love via his actions.

If someone loves you in a relationship, you usually know it, as it is obvious by their actions and overall attitude toward you. However, when you question or doubt their love, it can put a wall of resistance between you which puts you both on the defensive. This can become a vicious cycle, where you constantly trigger each other and stop noticing the qualities you originally fell in love with.

How to Cope with It?

Build an emotional connection and enhance feelings of attraction with your partner.

Yes, I know this is easier said than done. But it can definitely be achieved with the correct knowledge and technique.

Remember: you are 100% responsible for your life and the outcomes within it. You chose to date your partner; you decide how you interact with them; you made the decision to marry your spouse. These were your decisions.

Your choices are your responsibility, but it doesn’t mean you should blame yourself or your partner when things aren’t going as they should. You just need to make a few adjustments to how you are showing up within your relationship.

Your spouse is not responsible for your happiness. Only you are responsible for your happiness.

If you indulge in thoughts about being in a loveless marriage, you will continually trigger yourself emotionally and therefore feel unmotivated toward the very actions that would save your marriage.

Marriage is just one way to make your life happier, and that’s only when it is maintained with the right intentions and actions. How you maintain your marriage is up to you. It’s your responsibility to build a strong emotional connection with your partner and continue your efforts to enhance attraction over the lifetime of your relationship.

Start by Creating an Inviting Environment

First and foremost, create a more inviting environment for you and your partner. Pay attention to the way you think, act and dress.

Know that your thoughts will always directly influence how you feel. Start by changing your own thoughts, words, and actions from being negatively focused to being focused toward your ideal outcome and, you will create a flow-on effect which directly influences your partner’s behavior.

I understand that your spouse plays a key role in your marriage, but you can only influence your spouse’s actions and feelings; you cannot control everything. In fact, being controlling is the fastest way to experiencing an unhappy and loveless marriage.

Stop Blaming Your Partner – and Inspire Them Instead

Stop blaming your partner for your lack of connection and take action steps each day to reignite attraction. As well as paying attention to how you look and feel, this includes lifting your partner up with appreciation and gratitude for their contribution.

It’s important to inspire your spouse to invest in your marriage because someone who invests in something expects it to work. For instance, you can ask for his/her help once in a while, so your partner feels that they are wanted and needed by you. Then, appreciate their effort.

When your partner is contributing to your life, and you are showing your appreciation, the emotional connection between you naturally becomes stronger.

Create Shared Experiences and Show Your Love Passionately

Secondly, create more shared experiences with your partner. This can be a date night once a week. It can also be having a holiday for two weeks once a year. Or several romantic weekends away. Don’t let your marriage become boring and predictable after the initial excitement of your wedding.

Lastly, show your love passionately. In life, you don’t get what you want; you get what you give. Hence, you should show your love first. Tell your husband/wife how much you love him/her and then see how things change. This is the Law of Reciprocity.[1]

Sign #2 You Are in a Marriage Without Intimacy

Marriages without intimacy are more common than you would assume. This can be due to sexual dysfunction issues, one’s sexual technique doesn’t fulfill another, or the couple simply has no time, energy or mood for sexy time. For many reasons, there are many couples who stop having a sexy time in the bedroom a few years after getting married. It’s one of those secrets that people just don’t talk about and keep hidden behind their bedroom door.

Know that if you are in a marriage without intimacy, you are not alone. There are many others in a similar situation.

Now you may wonder, “What happens in a marriage without intimacy?”

The honest answer is that a marriage without intimacy is a sure sign of relationship breakdown. Your marriage is just not healthy without intimate relations. Along with emotional connection, sexual intimacy is the glue which holds your relationship together. While one partner may imagine they can live without sex, it’s unfair and unrealistic to expect their partner to be okay with it.

In most healthy marriages, sex results from the combination of closeness, intimacy, and emotional connection. Even as you age together, sex and intimacy remain a vital and loving component of a healthy and happy relationship.

While some marriages can sustain a lack of intimacy, usually one partner is not happy with this arrangement.

When encountering sexual function or other intimacy issues, it’s imperative to maintain a strong emotional connection and/or build mutual benefits in your marriage. Sadly, many couples who are in marriages without intimacy fail to build strong emotional connection or mutual benefits, so they end up in loveless marriages.

How to Cope with It?

Fix the problems in the bedroom and work on other areas outside the bedroom.

When you are in a sexless marriage, you need to fix the issues in the bedroom first. The best solution is to look for professional help in this regard.

Remember that in a marriage, you need to work together as a team. If one partner is suffering from a sexual function issue, then support them by providing emotional support and encouragement and get professional help. No one likes to feel like they are failing as a human, and most sexual issues can be corrected with the right knowledge and technique.

Your marriage is very important to you, so you may want to invest in professional consultation and improve the situation as soon as possible.

An expert who specializes in this area can identify the root cause of a sexless marriage and give you appropriate advice; thus, you will benefit from this new knowledge and reignite the passion in your marriage. Of course, you will need to reinforce the emotional connection with your partner as well.

Build Mutual Benefits

Meanwhile, you can look at various ways to build mutual benefits with your spouse. For a male partner, mutual benefits need to be intimately focused. This is because a man without sexual intimacy is like a fish without water! Giving each other a sensual and loving massage at least once a week, with the simple focus on giving enjoyment to each other without any other expectation, will help him know you are still attracted to him.

Outside of the bedroom, there are other ways to build mutual benefits. For instance, if you already have children with your partner, you and your partner can spend more family time with children. If you and your partner have built a business together, you can spend more time working together developing your business.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean mutual benefits can or should replace sexual intimacy in marriage but working on other areas of your marriage will certainly help to enhance connection.

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Integrity Cannot Exist Without Insight…Here’s Why!

Image result for insight integrity

When I hear the word, “insight” I immediately think of the esoteric principle of “go within or go without…the only way out is through.” For it is when we are courageously turning our focus inward, on ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings, our experiences, and our choices do we “get out” of a rut, but also out of our own way.

When we can objectively observe ourselves, can we play a proactive role in obtaining our goals, and reaching milestones we’ve planned for ourselves to accomplish. We stop just thinking about and we start doing it. No longer can we sit idly eating popcorn as a viewer in the theater…for once you realize you ARE the movie, you also can no longer deny the fact that you have not only a choice to but rather an obligation to contribute to the creation of the experiences, dramas, lessons, plot twists and mysteries playing out in the movie.

Having been an avid fan and student of meditation for many years, I’m familiar with the concepts of self-reflection, objective observing, and connecting to what I call the “divine silence” within us all. You know, the parts on the movie before something REALLY good or scary happens? 😉

There’s a reason we innately like to escape our “real” fears and sit with the ones we are comfortable accepting and keep an almost child-like wonder around how fun being vulnerable can actually be. Especially when the floor is lava. LOL Am I the only one who has played that game as a kid? My point is, it is our imaginations that allow us the courage to face fears and ultimately give us the confidence to dream up entirely new worlds!

Misuse of our imagination would be a stubborn avoidance of any chance to not only look at personal behavior, but to actively change any behavior that is damaging or toxic to your life, and preventing you from evolving as a person spiritually. We cannot change what we do not acknowledge.

And I-I-I-I-I-I Wonder…

It still makes me wonder why indoctrination insists on disconnecting children from their imaginations. Something that was once “cute” is now “embarrassing” or “shameful”. Regardless of my own indoctrination, I am ever grateful for never having that vital tie to my imagination severed.

Regardless of what we’ve been taught, our imagination is what empowers us to not only play to win but play to serve. It is here we assume the role of “Grand Architect”. We can create the vastest playing fields, and create the rules of the game. And when we step into that role not with ego, but with heart, we literally begin to manifest the life we have always wanted.

Image result for self reflection

So…what do you want? It’s pretty amazing to me how many of us have no idea. We settle into our rituals and routines and just react to our daily experiences. To truly know what you want requires truly know who you are, and that is merely impossible with insight and imagination.

Insight allows us to reflect on our choices. How we chose to speak to someone, how we chose to spend the weekend, how we chose to react to someone being rude to us…it’s not a matter of micro-managing yourself, but rather simply being willing to sit down with yourself and be honest.

Intentional insight reconnects us with ourselves, our heart, our desires, our talents and gifts, our inspirations, our aspirations and ultimately gives us back the reigns of our own life. Over time, insight into oneself simply balances you out. Once you are able to humbly face your mistakes, and consciously accept it and look forward to how it may affect your life and those around you, you always find you have another choice to make. Stay the same…or evolve.

I’m Human…What Can I Say?

We are all human, but we are not all coming from a place of integrity. Those who act to serve only to be served are completely missing the point. The true reward is hiding in the act itself! Giving is never one-sided, however most of the time we refuse to allow ourselves to feel the joy it contains. We instead think our reward will come later on, like we just told the Universe, “You saw what I did, now you owe me one.” Sorry, but it doesn’t and never will work that way. Image result for insight integrity

Everything in our 3D reality is dualistic, but that doesn’t mean we must stand divided. We simply need to understand that it’s all part of something bigger, and something grander comes from their dualistic unity than ever would on their own. Allow it to be a reunion of integral proportions, and allow yourself to calmly reconcile any misconceptions between your own insight and your own integrity. This is the ultimate understanding that neither can exist without the other which slips them both into silent confidence each role plays…

As the saying goes, (Well, I say it LOL)…
“Insecurities Will Scream…Confidence Always Invokes a Whisper”.

 

Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

Follow Tamara on FacebookTwitter and Google+

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




Why Strong Chemistry Doesn’t Always Lead to a Strong Relationship

By Carrie L. Burns | Tiny Buddha

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ~C.G. Jung 

Everyone says it. They say chemistry is a must. I know I say it. But why do we say this?  What exactly is chemistry, and is it really the best indicator of a good partner?

The man I had the most chemistry with (we’ll call him Tim) treated me like an option and was never particularly concerned with my needs, desires, or feelings.

I remember the day I met him, and he opened the door and flashed his ear-to-ear grin. I literally said to myself, “FML, this guy is going to break my heart.” Despite knowing he would, and despite his treatment, I stayed with him in a long-distance, off-and-on relationship for two and a half years. Oh, and yes, he did break my heart.

Not only have I done this once, but I’ve done it SIX times!

Why did I place my feelings for him and my desire to be with him over my own sanity, my security, and my needs? Why do we do it over and over again? Why do we value chemistry over caring?

What is Chemistry?

According to anthropologist Helen Fischer, chemistry is really a mixture of hormones (testosterone and estrogen) and neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin). In her book Why We Love, she lays out a framework indicating there are four distinct personality types, each made up of varying degrees of hormones and neurotransmitters.

The Four Personality Types

  • The Explorer, defined by high dopamine activity, is adventurous, novelty-seeking, creative
  • The Builder, with high serotonin activity, is cautious, conventional, managerial
  • The Director, pumped up with testosterone, is aggressive, single-minded, analytical
  • The Negotiator, more estrogen-influenced, is empathetic, idealistic, a big-picture thinker

But, underlying this biological chemistry is a psychological chemistry, which is when we are seeking out someone to heal the damage done in our childhood. This chemistry is where our problems come in.

Most of the time we don’t know that we are drawing this parental figure toward us in some quest to get them to do things right by us this time, thereby fixing our wounded hearts. Sometimes we know it, but we keep moving forward anyway.

With Tim I knew immediately. I felt his avoidance and his emotional unavailability. My intuition told me to run the minute I met him. Unfortunately, my hormones, my soul, and my heart told me otherwise, and I continued a pattern of push and pull, love and disdain for over two years.

With all of my other boyfriends and even my husband, it wasn’t so obvious. Some it showed up later and some were worse than others. But I felt an immediate connection with every single one of them and went from being single to being in a relationship within a matter of days.

So, Is It All Or Nothing?

Not once did I take the time to determine how they treated me. Not once did I take the time to observe their behaviors and their willingness to meet my needs. I let chemistry and my feelings toward them override common sense.

This isn’t to say they are to blame or that they were bad guys, because they weren’t. My childhood issues were running the show and have been since I can remember.

Every one of them had the same characteristics. They were all kind, honest, good guys. But none of them seemed to care about my needs as much as their own. Life was all about their wants, needs, and desires, and I was supposed to just accept it. Unfortunately, I did accept it. I took it for as long as I could until I eventually left.

However, this is not a healthy way to interact in a relationship. I was at fault for settling and not speaking my mind and discussing my needs. I suppose I felt that I was lucky to get their crumbs, and if they said they loved me that should have been enough. It wasn’t.

There was always an underlying chemistry with all of them that kept me there and kept me trying. One night while I was separated from my husband, he spent the night after we went out to dinner. I remember lying there next to him. My body craved being physically next to him, but I kept looking over at him and thought to myself, “I really don’t like you very much.”

Chemistry can override our common sense, and it can keep us with someone who isn’t right for us or doesn’t treat us well. Chemistry can be the most amazing thing on the planet. The highs you get are amazing. Unfortunately, the lows that can also come with it are very low. So, what do you do?

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The Biology of Love – Making Every Day Valentine’s Day with Dr. Bruce Lipton

Source: Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.

Happy Valentine’s Day! On this wonderful little video, Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about the biology of love and how you can make every day Valentine’s Day.

Why do we have love in this world? It relates to something called the biological imperative, which is the built-in behaviors to survive. There are two levels of survival:

1. Survival of the individual
2. Survival of the species

The survival of the species is controlled by reproduction.

Do you need love for that? In primitive animals, the answer is no. But, as you go up the evolutionary scale, larger animals, when they are born, are not developmentally complete. They take a period of time to mature enough to be on their own.

When it comes to humans, it takes at least 13 years for a child to mature enough to be independent, during which time they are nurtured by their parents.

So, how do you keep the parents together for that long? Mother nature creates the cocktail of love (and self-love), the chemistry from the brain, which includes:
Dopamine – for pleasure
Oxytocin – for bonding
Vasopressin – for attractiveness

The chemistry of love is one of the most wonderful aspects of human life. That chemistry leads to compassion, altruism, love and harmony.




What Playfulness Can Do for Your Relationship

By  Kira M. Newman | Greater Good Magazine 

I live with a hip-wiggler. When we’re in an elevator, Fred shakes to the muzak. If we’re pushing a cart through the grocery store and B. B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” comes through the speakers, Fred starts shimmying—and watching for my reaction. My role in this bit is to survey the scene in mock disapproval, one eyebrow raised, trying not to giggle.

My partner is playful and I try to join in, in my introverted way. And that’s good because research suggests that couples who are playful together have closer and more satisfying relationships.

Unfortunately, we humans tend to become less playful as we get older. After all, play requires a bit of freedom and space; by definition, it’s not a productive activity. The schedules and stresses of life can impinge on our relationship and suck the playfulness out of it. There may come a day when Fred bops less to the beat.

That’s a bigger loss than we might realize. Scientists are investigating all the different psychological functions that play serves in romantic relationships, and they’re finding that it gives us more than just the occasional laugh. Play can bring us a sense of security, offer a way to communicate, and even help us resolve conflicts. If we’re serious about cultivating a close and lasting relationship, we might just have to find our own ways to dance through life.

Why bother being playful?

Why are humans playful? That might not be a question you’ve ever asked yourself, but it’s one that occupies the minds of evolutionary theorists, because (at least on its surface) play doesn’t seem to contribute to our survival. Rather than spending the time hunting for food or sleeping to save up energy, why would it be useful for our ancestors to hang around the fire doing funny imitations of each other? Wouldn’t that distract them from potential threats that might be creeping out of the bushes?

Playfulness, some researchers speculate, could serve as a signal to potential mates. Men who engage in friendly, reciprocal play with others might be demonstrating their lack of aggression—an appealing trait when violent males are a threat to their wives and children—and women who have the energy for play might be demonstrating their youthfulness, a proxy for their reproductive abilities. At least that’s the way certain researchers interpret the finding that, according to surveys, people seem to look for playfulness, humor, and a fun-loving attitude in potential partners.

When a 2014 study by the University of Halle’s René Proyer asked real people to reflect on how play served their relationship, they came up with a variety of answers.

First of all, people said, playfulness simply feels good; it makes us laugh. It also supports the relationship itself, in a variety of ways, they added. People talked about using playfulness to seduce their partner and make sex enjoyable, and to communicate things more effectively. For example, sometimes teasing our partner about their faults and oddities can be a way of quietly pointing them out, without the sting of criticism.

The very fact that play is unserious can make it a safe way to raise issues that are, in fact, quite serious. You can bring something up playfully—maybe a sexual request or an emotion you’re feeling—and gauge the response. Or it can work the opposite way: Serious relationship issues might crop up in your jokes and sarcasm, a signal that something needs to be dealt with. (Take, for example, the partner in one study who realized the repressed hostility embedded in her new nickname for her better half: “Moldy Oldy”).

A playful remark or gesture can also loosen up a tense situation, reminding your significant other that despite whatever stresses you’re under, you’re still in a safe and loving relationship. It takes a great deal of social intelligence to know when a gentle joke in the middle of a fight might make your partner crack a smile—but the research suggests that’s a skill well worth developing.

What does romantic play look like?

Of course, there are many playful paths we can take toward intimacy—and there’s something we can learn from the way researchers have enumerated, categorized, and cataloged all the different ways partners play.

One of the most common forms of play seems to be the secret language that develops between couples, from nicknames to private jokes. In my relationship, for example, Fred invented a word that’s an amalgamation of a Korean expression and our cat’s nickname—which makes absolutely zero sense—to communicate exasperation. I have to remember not to utter this word in the presence of others, lest it provokes strange looks.

Roleplay is also common. In the comfort of the romantic bubble, one might feel safe enough to pretend to be a puppy, do their best Elvis impression, or imitate the neighbor’s oddly high-pitched laugh.

Some play, of course, requires no words at all—my partner’s dancing being one example. We can playfully pilfer a cookie from our beloved, turning a normally selfish act into an affectionate exchange. Teasing is another behavior that walks the line between positive and negative, which is why play is a delicate negotiation: Our partner has to perceive our playful intent and join in the game, lest they are annoyed by our frivolity or put off by our kindly jabs.

Some play is more structured, like the rules and games that couples invent. When I’m debating Fred over a Googleable point of fact, we often bet three kisses on the answer before looking it up—and the loser has to immediately pay their debt.

In these ways, the play seems to spontaneously arise. But then those one-off comments or behaviors turn into habits, morphing and evolving over time but always expressing an underlying affection and understanding.

So, it probably comes as no surprise that playful couples are often happy couples. In studies that survey people about their behaviors and feelings, those who are more playful in their relationships tend to experience more positive emotions, be more satisfied with their union, and feel closer to each other. They report that they communicate better, resolve conflicts better, and see their relationships in a more positive light.

As a participant in one study said: “Feel[ing] free to be silly together . . . reaffirms a closeness and sensibility to one another that would be hard to express in any other way—it makes me aware of how relaxed I feel with him and he with me.”

What kind of play will work for you?

However, achieving those warm, fuzzy benefits of play might depend on what kinds of play we engage in.

In a 2019 study, Proyer and his colleagues surveyed over 200 heterosexual couples about their styles of play and how satisfied they were with their relationships. Some play is considered “other-directed”—the kind that truly draws others into silliness and good cheer. Another play is “intellectual,” where we enjoy wordplay and creatively solving problems. And play can also be “whimsical,” an amusement with life and a slightly oddball attitude.

One of those styles stood out in good relationships: other-directed play. People who tended to clown around in this manner were happier with their relationships overall. In particular, they were more likely to admire their partner, experience feelings of tenderness and togetherness, feel pleased with their sex life, be invested in the relationship, and believe it would last. Only some of these patterns held up for the intellectually playful, and still fewer were found in whimsically playful mates.

When we reflect on our own relationships, those playful moments are things to cherish. In the routine of every day, two people playfully construct a secret language and culture, and it is solely their own. Play involves showing our partner parts of ourselves that others rarely see, the childlike, silly side that might not be socially acceptable at work or in other settings.

“Playing is reconnoitering of the unknown borders of two psyches, whose contours can become reassuringly familiar only through the experience of mutual vulnerability and nonjudgmental responsiveness,” writes marital therapist R. William Betcher. “It is through playing that we learn how to approach someone’s more intimate self.”

For this reason, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to play with your partner. Every couple’s play will look a little different, and that’s the point. If there were any prescription, it would be something like this: Let your silly self come out, appreciate the goofiness of your loved one, and do what makes you both smile.

About the Author
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Kira M. Newman

Kira M. Newman is the managing editor of Greater GoodFollow her on Twitter!

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