Valentine’s Day Happiness Strategies – #2. For couples

image When you’ve forgotten what you ever saw in them – what should you do?

The things we find attractive or endearing at first – Cuthbert’s slight arrogance,  Mavis’s raucous laugh – can come to annoy the bejesus out of us over time. They haven’t necessarily changed, we’ve zeroed in on minor irritations – sometimes at the expense of major qualities. 

Valentine’s Day Happiness Strategy: Switch from the husband/wife’s list to the widower/widow’s list

In Follow Your Heart, Andrew Matthews describes the two mental lists we have in our heads:

  1. the husband/wife’s short list – a puny play-by-play of peeves
  2. the widower/widow’s long list – a comprehensive compendium of character

It’s easy to spend years ruminating on petty irritations: Cuthbert says supposably instead of supposedly; Mavis gets mascara goop in her eyes. But if one day Cuth or Mave should cark it, suddenly the long list gets whipped out: he was so loyal, kind and reliable; she was truly generous, caring and good-natured.

Matthews suggests we do the switcheroo on these lists and consciously focus on the things we love about people while they’re here. By bringing the large virtues into our mental foreground we can often shove the pesky little vices way into the distance.

Then, as Andrews says, when they’re gone we can ‘console ourselves with thoughts like "he snored anyway"’.


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By Michele Connolly

Choose to be happier – and you will be.

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