Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happiness For Two - Stoddard

Choosing Happiness author, Alexandra Stoddard, is back with a new book in time for the lovers holiday with Happiness For Two. The book contains 75 essays aimed at finding happiness in loving relationships or "secrets for finding more joy together."

Avid Alexandra fans such as myself will not be disappointed with this latest publication. Those of us who read "Living In Love" will find Happiness For Two to be more universally wise about love with less reliance on the personal love of Alexandra and Peter. For this reason, I believe the book speaks equally to men and women. I have a daughter aged 25 who is reading the book with her girlfriends so it seems to surpass generational boundaries as well.

My favorite essays:

6. Go on vacations alone, together.
7. Assume more responsibility at home.
13. Write each other's New Year's resolutions.
14. Celebrate more.
22. Don't discuss your intimacy and secrets with others.
23. Be there as a support for all important occasions.
37. Establish your own rituals and traditions.
43. Talk up, not down.
44. Stop the teasing.
47. Don't move things from each other's personal spaces.
52. Don't correct each other in public.
56. Try not to interrupt.

58. Conversations shouldn't be monologues.
67. Patience, patience.

A few essays, such as vacationing alone together and establishing our own rituals and traditions, are favorites because of my wholehearted agreement with Alexandra's advice. Others, especially regarding not interrupting or moving things, are ones that would heighten our happiness if I improve in these areas. Some are ones that have a fresh idea or perspective, as in the one about writing each other's resolutions.

I found these quotes to be thought provoking...

"Cannot we let people be themselves, and enjoy life in their own way?" - Emerson

"Good and evil do not befall men without reason. Heaven sends them happiness or misery according to their conduct." - Confucius

"Do not sit long with a sad friend. When you go to a garden do you look at the weeds?" - Rumi

"What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?" - George Eliot

  • "Whenever you love what you're doing, you will be more lovable."
  • "When you genuinely want harmony at home, assume more responsibility."
  • "Equal power is not the same as equal distribution."
  • "We best work things out when when we want the best for each other."
  • "In an intimate partnership, be high-hearted about what's really important: how blessed you are to love each other."
  • "In order to increase your own happiness, you have to get into the happiness habit."
  • "We must constantly discipline our minds."
  • "Someone who celebrates more lives more fully and loves more deeply."
  • "If only we tried as hard to be good as we try to be beautiful."
  • "I don't appreciate people who try to brainwash me into going along with their opinion when I find their political or religious beliefs incompatible with mine."
  • "The secret for all lovers is that you put each other first."
  • "Each should do whatever possible to make their partner happy."
  • "Show me what you like to do and I'll tell you who you are."
  • "If you don't express yourself, the world will never experience your unique vision."
  • "Simplify the outward details of our lives."
  • "It is better to strengthen your back than to lighten your burden."
  • "Be a fountain, not a drain."
  • "No matter how fortunate we are, if we're not thankful for the gifts we have, we will not be happy."
  • "Wake up in the morning and make up your mind to be happy."
  • "If your lover is kind, generous, warmhearted, loving, friendly, outgoing and forgiving, you will live your lives together in harmony and contentment."

Alexandra Stoddard

It is a tradition of mine to read one new relationship book and reread "Living In Love" before Valentine's Day. As we celebrate the day, Doug and I like to reflect on our past together as a couple. Sometimes he reads to me the marriage proposal he drafted. We also like to discuss how to take our relationship to the next level. We strive to be grateful, to not take our love for granted and keep the romance, not only alive, but blazing. We seek that ultimate experience that is happiness for two.

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