Love, hope, gratitude, and forgiveness are interrelated and an integral part of positive psychology. Statistics show that most individuals are happier in relationships or attached than being single (Aspinwall and Staudinger, 2003). On the other hand, some people think that in order to have full happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being, they need love. Women tend to psychologically benefit slightly more than men from being in a relationship (Aspinwall and Staudinger, 2003). Happy people attract people around them. Married people are less likely to feel lonely. Marriage supports happiness because it can offer two additional roles, spouse and parent, which can increase self-esteem.
However, half of the US marriages end in divorce. A bad marriage can be worse than being single. Individuals who date tend to be optimistic about the potential of their relationship. Married couples need to be aware that the odds are not in favor of living happily ever after. Given the statistics, some married people keep looking for newer and better opportunities. Nowadays, marriages tend to last as long as the two married people are happy with each other and have their needs met, regardless of the effects a divorce will have on children, relatives and society overall. In the past, decades ago, a marriage was necessary to survive, due to less women working and less wealth than there are today. Today, larger families are more likely to stay married. Today, people are more comfortable with being single. In the past, married women were happier than today. Today single people are happier than in the past.
In addition, long distance married couples are more likely to divorce. More couple simply cohabitate; more than half the US population, supports cohabitation, although research shows that cohabitation before marriage heightens the chances of divorce. Single mothers, especially teens, have increased. The percentage of people, who believes in no sex before marriage, has significantly decreased. Planned Parenthood blames the media for promoting unprotected promiscuity. Research shows that kids from merged families are more likely to develop psychological based problems.
Furthermore, second marriages are more likely to fail than first ones. Pop psychology says extra marital affairs are up to 66%, but Gallup surveys in the US and Europe shows only 10% infidelity. Humans need love. What loving relationships, versus just sexual relationships, have in common are: understanding, support and companionship.
Couples that have a strong love eye gaze each other long. People who are strongly in love are very happy and attract happy people, happy circumstance and happy life overall, around them. Passion subsides with time.
Romantic love follows the patterns of addictions, which goes from high to low, is taken for granted and focuses on the negative. Asians are less affected by the passion fading. Kids often become the couple’s new focus, contributing to divorce. To prevent this from happening, it is encouraged that couples participate in training.
Sociologists found that lasting couples do most of: marry after age twenty, date for a long while, are well educated, have financial stability, live in a small or farm town, cohabitate or have kids after marriage and are religiously committed. Likes attract; therefore, the more similarities married couples have, the more likely they are to stay married (Myers, 2002). According to statistics, couples, who have sex, agree and laugh more than they have fights, are happy, because relieving sexual frustration can increase marriage wellness.
Quality of sex is more important than quantity because it manifests intense closeness. Orgasms with someone are far more satisfying than alone. The magic recipe for marriage is committed intimate friendship.
Spirituality is one form of intimacy. Couples who pray and have sex are happier than the ones who do not do both. One more key to lasting marriages is equity. All these keys take efforts.
Love can be real. Happiness doesn’t discriminate. What matters in love are: physical health, sleep, some alone time, self-esteem, personal control, self-identity, optimism or hope, gratitude, forgiveness, and support. Today is the best time in history material wise, but not spirit wise. Manifestations of spiritual starvation are: environment protection, wellness, peace projects, crystal power beliefs, reincarnation, channeling, aura and soul readings, numerology, harmonic healing, and spirited sessions. There are many people who need healing that any healing modality finds an audience.
Each ideology in history shares in common hope of well-being. Most surveyed religious people in Europe and North America reported being happier and more life satisfied than most surveyed non religious ones. Highly spiritual people are even twice as happy as actively religious people.
There is a direct correlation between religion and wellness and/or joy among the geriatric crowd. When coping with crises, if having a strong faith, leads to greater strength, joy and wellness. In America, religious people do not usually become delinquent, substance abusers, divorcees, suicidal. Religious people live longer and are healthier.
People benefit from: connecting to communities, a sense of significance, humility and acceptance, a focus beyond humans, and perspective on death. In most places on Earth, the most common way to find social identity and support is religion and there are congregations close to everyone. Studies show that people find meaning and purpose in faith. Seligman believes that no meaning leads to depression (Seligman, 2002).
Self-esteem equals success divided by pretensions. People need to accept that they are accepted. Studies show that prayer and meditation increases acceptance and intimate relationships.
There is a directly proportional correlation between altruism and happiness and/or wellness. People, who donate to charity, also donate to religious organizations. Religious consciousness shows altruism.
Optimism for the future reduces anxiety. Hope for life after death helps coping with death, but denial of life after death helps celebrating and appreciating life more. The essence of joy is enjoying the present. The thought of eternity or immortality helps valuing life, as there would be no reason to keep something of no value.
To conclude, what faith offers, such as community, gratitude, forgiveness, purpose, acceptance, altruism, and eternity, increases well-being. Marriage is the hope for happiness. We choose a career, or fly believing, hoping, or having faith. The chance for error in faith makes humans humble and open to hope that feeds love and joy.
Aspinwall, G., L. and Staudinger, U., M. (2003), A Psychology of Human Strengths, APA, 149-164.
Myers, G., D (2002), The pursuit of happiness, HarperCollins Publishers, 127-141.
Seligman, E., M. (2002), Authentic Happiness, The Free Press, 1-260.
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