Pathways to Wellness

conversation • connection • commitment

Time to celebrate

Who would have thought we'd be singing the praises (pun intended) of Kool and The Gang but there's wisdom in their 1980 hit song, There's a party goin' on right here
          A celebration to last throughout the years
          So bring your good times, and your laughter too
          We gonna celebrate your party with you.

When we help others celebrate their "good times," we increase love, loyalty, satisfaction and commitment in relationships.  How do we know?  Researchers at UCLA studied couples who were happily married and found that the key to their happiness was not so much how they handled conflict, but rather how they celebrated each other’s successes.   

Married people tended to respond to their partners' successes in one of 4 ways which we'll illustrate with an example.  Suppose your partner comes home and announces that he or she has gotten a promotion.  You might respond by saying, "I can't talk now. I'm busy."  Or maybe you say with a touch of sarcasm, "Oh great, now you'll work even longer hours." Or, maybe you'll say, "Honey, that's great." 

Although the last response is better, in fact much better than the first two, it won't actually strengthen the relationship.

The best response, and the only one which actually builds the relationship, is to invite your partner to relive the experience moment-by-moment by asking detailed questions.  "That's wonderful.  Tell me where you were when you heard the news of your promotion.   What did your boss say?  What was it like hearing that?  What was the first thought you had? And so on.

It's not just what you say that's important– it's also your non-verbal communication. When you ask genuine, authentic questions, you are more likely to make eye contact, smile, nod, and show other signs of affection.

By giving your partner your full attention, you are letting them know that nothing else matters more at that moment than celebrating the good fortune.  The re-telling of the event increases your partner's happiness, and strengthens your relationship.  It isn't second nature to respond this way, but it can become second nature with practice.

Responding actively and constructively to another's success or good fortune also deepens friendships, workplace relationships, and parent-child relationships.  

Make Kool and The Gang's motto your own:  "we gonna celebrate your party with you." 

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