While I was shuffling through some accumulated text messages on my phone the other day, one in particular caught my attention. I saw a familiar tagline on one of my husband’s messages that read, “sent with confetti.” As I touched the message, a “party In a text,” emerged, showering the words, “I’m so in love with you,” with a pop and an audible swoosh of virtual confetti. I smiled and replayed the message and noticed that as I did, I added to my personal reserve of positive feelings for my husband. One of the things he does well is find creative ways to send positive and romantic text messages on most days of the week, and one of his favorite effects is the confetti option, festooning his declarations with bright shards of color.
Research studies have shown that sharing positive events with romantic partners is significantly associated with positive emotion. By including our partners in the good things that happen to us, we can build positive feelings in the relationship.
Playing off his example, I suggested to my husband that we try our own little experiment and exchange text messages everyday at least once a day that were “celebratory,” in nature, meaning that we douse our gratitude in digital confetti and watch how it impacted our own feelings. I found that this exercise had a two-part impact: not only did receiving good news bring on the warm fuzzies, but thinking of positive things to share was bonding as well.
If you go looking, it’s amazing what you can find to celebrate. Here are some examples of our real-life exchanges, which I have categorized for ease. To gain the full celebratory effect, imagine the word “YAY!” before each statement:
“Making the ordinary extraordinary” celebrations:
- You remembered to put the garbage cans out!
- You put the lid on the toilet seat down!
- You remembered to get milk on the way home from work!
- You remembered to pick up our daughter from lacrosse on the way home from work!
- I remembered to turn on the crock pot!
- All the socks came back from the dryer in pairs!
- I found the source of the nasty odor in the fridge!
- I walked in the front door and no one’s shoes were sitting out on the floor!
- I walked in the front door and no one’s coat was hanging on the banister!
- You remembered to turn off the outdoor lights!
“Silver lining” celebrations: Tragedy with a bright side:
- When our son lost his fight with the lawnmower, and I wasn’t there to help him because I was taking a daughter to lacrosse, our neighbor who is a nurse saw what happened and took our son to the hospital!
- When I was freaking out that the ER docs said they wouldn’t try to reattach our son’s fingers, and I asked if they knew he was a musician, our good-natured, comedic son remarked, “Don’t worry mom, I’ll make more money as a lawnmower safety spokesperson than as a musician anyway.”
- When I was worried about our pianist son losing parts of his fingers, I had a friend who sent me a list of famous musicians who have lost parts of their digits, to make me feel better.
- Even though our son’s lawnmower accident necessitated the removal of some fingertips, he still has a hand that will likely be able to play the piano.
- When our son came home from surgery with parts of his fingers amputated, he took his bandaged hand and made a funny video with it.
“NULL” celebrations—celebrating the absence of terrible events:
- No one had to go to the emergency room today!
- Nothing in the house flooded today!
- No one is failing out of school!
- No one locked themselves out of a car today!
- No one dropped a full gallon of milk on the freshly mopped kitchen floor today!
- No one started a fire in the house today!
- No one put a dent in the drywall today!
- No one shattered the light fixture with a basketball!
- No one shattered the glass by throwing a football!
- No one got a flat tire today!
“Go us!” celebrations:
- My fortune cookie said, “You and your partner will be happy in life together.”
- We agreed on what movie to go see in less than two minutes!
- We were on time to the party!
- We assembled IKEA furniture without a single fight!
- Our kids like to be around each other!
- We still like each other!
- We are in our 50’s and I’m still physically attracted to you!
- We got to Skype all of our kids at the same time today!
- We have a beautiful granddaughter!
- We have reached the stage in life where we can go to the bathroom now without a child pounding on the door!
“No matter how stressful things are, we can count on this” celebrations:
- The sunset is beautiful!
- We have good friends!
- We have been through stressful times before and survived!
- We get to go to bed together tonight!
- We are still in love!
The possibilities really are endless. This is one of the easiest things you can to do generate positive feelings in your marriage. Set your phone to generate a reminder even once a day and try sending a celebratory message and see what follows…but don’t forget the confetti!
How was your day? Couples’ affect when telling and hearing daily events (2008) by Hicks, A. M. & Diamond, L. M. in Personal Relationships, 15(2), 205-228.
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