Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good to Remember

A few evenings ago I did a "What Happy Women Do" talk to a really hip and cool group of women, each connected to a hip and cool health organization in the Twin Cities. The attendees ranged in age from high school (the letter jacket gave it away) to an 85 year old (I learned her age when she volunteered it and some smart advice to all of us during the Q&A). Each woman was there to learn more about the profound connection between her physical and relationship health.

During the fun lecture (fun for me, I mean, to see people nodding, smiling and enjoying the stories of sisterhood, friendship and the importance of fulfilling connections both within and outside of our coupledom), I noticed a woman crying. She was visibly touched, it was clear, by the story I had just read: "Remembering Cathe," story #6 in What Happy Women Do. I love the story for many reasons, partly because it's brilliantly written by the woman who shared it; partly because it reminds us to have great friendships and salute them, always; partly because we all can relate to mystery, laughter and loss.

I share it again below to remind all of us happy-couple-readers to make sure we round out our couple-ness with great friendships. Research shows our social networks (not of the digital kind, the actual human kind) do significantly influence our marriages and partnerships.

Remembering Cathe

A little more than five years ago, a dear friend from college, Catherine, died after an on-again, off-again battle (she called it "inconvenient") with breast cancer for years. She was 49. Her little boy was 11. It broke our hearts.

Cathe had a way of collecting friends like some people collect coins. She polished all of us and scooped us together in a pile. Low and behold, we became friends, good friends who gather several times a year to flirt with Italian waiters, eat too much, and drink a bunch of wine. Sometimes we top it off with a forbidden cigarette, just because Cathe liked being a bit of a rebel.

After she died we had a tree planted in her honor on the campus of her alma mater, the College of St. Catherine. Each spring it boasts pink blooms, and a bench now graces the site, too. On July 31, the anniversary of her death, I sat there again, drinking in a kind of silence almost antithetical to Cathe's nature: She was Irish and never shut up, except sometimes in church, and even then she usually found something to whisper and giggle about.

As I sat there thinking about Cathe, I hoped there is, indeed, the afterlife to which we Christians cling. I have some good gossip I need to tell her and I need to feel again the special kind of exhaustion that endless laughter brings. I need her to tell me a story. I miss her "cackle."

Suddenly, my reverie was interrupted. Someone walking to his car after a campus summer music conference had burst into a perfect-pitch rendition of "Amazing Grace." Thanks, Cathe.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

a LOVE-ly little surprise today!

... appeared, totally unexpected and without warning, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Sweet! You bet What Happy Couples Do is a top gift for Valentine's day if you want something for both the head and heart. Dang. I love these lovely little surprises (especially when they come in full color and in a large-ciculation newspaper! Yoo hoo!).

What do you have planned to surprise someone you love on Tuesday? I'd share what I have up my sleeve, but then it wouldn't be a surprise, would it? Whatever comes your way this week of intentionally expressing kindness, love and gratitude may it be colorful, wonderful and, well, all-around LOVEly.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Science of Love! (Is there one?)

First, smoochy-kissy thanks to all you fun blog fans who came to What Happy Couples Do Tuesday night! The crowd was 250+ strong and you, of course, were my favorite peeps in the whole group. Every one of you. Even though I don't necessarily know who you were. But in spirit, anyway, I was grateful that your happy faces were in the auditorium. Did you like?! Feedback is always useful for making improvements in future talks.
( image, Swanheart).

One of the topics I raised Tuesday - and have often in this blog - is the yet-to-be-fully-understood connections between our physiology, biology, hormonology (new word I just made up), anthropology (all of those sciences and more) and our relationships. So, the equation of Science + Love = ?? I want to know the answer ... I mean answers (plural, surely). It's a fascinating set of interdisciplinary questions that are quite intriguing, no, if we're considering ALL of the variables for creating/sustaining happy couples?

Today one of my favorite neuropsychologist colleagues - Roxanne - sent me a live chat link hosted on Science Magazine's webpage called "The Science of Love." Okay, fascinating stuff here. Take a look. Why not then comment on the most fascinating thing you learned? We can start our own little 'love-chat' about the science of happy couples, eh?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Your EXCLUSIVE and last-minute invitation to a What Happy Couples Do Talk - in St. Paul - Feb 7!

"Honey, I just read on the Happy Couple Blog that one of the authors is doing a happy couple talk at the University of St. Thomas tomorrow night! (Feb 7, 2012 from 7-8:30 p.m., OEC auditorium). We should go ... make it a date! Fun, eh?"

"Well .. hmmm ... um ... I dunno. I kind of wanted to just be home tomorrow night. You know. Relax. It's a Tuesday. Let's just watch TV or sit side-by-side on our laptops and pretend that we are enjoying each other's company."

"Silly. No! We can do that every other night. But we have this really cool opportunity to hear the author of that cute book with the belly button fuzz story and the bare-chested hugs. It will be lively, interesting, funny, and inspiring! We could go and get all jazzed and educated about being an even happier couple than we already are!"

... "And on the blog I read that if I mention that I saw the invitation on the WHCD blog, we get in FREE! There are already over 200 people registered and they all had to pay $15 each to attend. Seriously - this is a deal. An hour of free knowledge about YOU and ME. Screamin' deal, I say. Let's go!"

"Well ... hmmm ... um ... okay. If you insist. But only if you promise not to raise your hand and share our cute little nicknames, okay my little twizzler?"

"Promise! And you have to agree to hold my hand during the talk so we can really tune into each other and all of the great, most contemporary research on how we can be a happy, happy, giddy, crazy-happy couple. K?"

"Yes, sugarlumps. I will"

WHCD blog Readers: as a thank you for reading this blog loyally, you were just invited to attend the What Happy Couples Do lecture I've agreed to do tomorrow night and am - gulp - being told is selling tickets like crazy. Looking like 225 or more in attendance, oh my! But no ticket needed for you. Just walk up, mention to the nice lady named Susan at the door that you read this invitation on the Happy Couple Blog, and walk right in for free (it's on me). Then commence to enjoy the surely-interesting and always-engaging lecture (I'm saying that out loud, hoping it will then happen! Positive psychology, I think it's called).

Come. Participate. Enjoy (I pray!) There will be beverages, sweets and books for sale after.

If you hate the talk, just smile and pretend you don't, okay honey-pumpkin-sugar-face-cup-cake-blog-reading-pals-of-mine? Sometimes we happy couple-types just need to fake it until we can make it. Right on.

Oh, and if you can't get your date or mate to join you, no problem. There will be much to learn about becoming a better member of your couple-team. Promise! Come one, come in twos, just come!