Linda: Flow is the ultimate ecstatic experience, the highest level of happiness. A successful marriage operates inflow state a large portion of the time because both partners are meeting challenges with skills. Here is a story of a couple that has discovered that for them, is an excellent way to enter flow together.
Antra: “One of my very favorite ways of getting into flow state with my husband Rich is ice dancing. He used to be a hockey player and he’s a really good ice skater. Many yeas ago, I decided to take up skating. I took lessons for years, lots and lots of lessons, and eventually became a pretty good skater. Then I talked him into giving his hockey skates for figures skates, which was not easy for a hockey player to do. Now we do ice-dancing together.”
Rich: “I love the way that we can move and flow together gliding across the ice. It feels completely natural and effortless. Often it’s not clear which of us is leading and which of is following. At these movements, I fell we are dissolving into each other and into oneness. For me, skating together to music we both love, looking into each other’s eyes, is heaven on ice.”
This couple found an athletic activity that takes them right into flow. But there are many ways to get there. Brenda McDaniel is an assistant professor of psychology at Kansas State University. She says, “A majority of the literature focuses on experiencing flow in a job or activity. But in her study, she examined how couples might experience flow during meaningful conversations.” McDaniels’s research found that engaging in flow is often associated with happiness and positive characteristics of relationships. Her findings show that those couples engaging in rewarding conversations are less likely to hold on to anger and stress and are more likely to be satisfied with their relationship. She summarizes her research with this statement, ”This positive rewarding state of flow during conversation may be one of the factors that create enduring marital relationships.”
Here is a starter kit of ideas and activities where some couples move into flow state. Be sure to add your own.
Sharing meaningful intimate conversations
Sharing a hobby
Playing games (cards, chess, etc.)
Adventure like traveling together to exotic destinations
Listening to music together
Co-authoring an article poem or book
Doing yoga together (Try partner yoga)
Hiking nature trails
Massaging each other
Cooking a meal
Decorating your home
Discussing the book you’re reading
Playing with ideas
This is just a starter kit. Be sure to add your favorites.
- Which of these activities do you participate in with your partner to enter into a flow state?
- Once you have identified the ways you enter into flow state, assess the regularity with which you participate in these behaviors.
- Assess whether you would like the frequency to be greater, and what that would require of you.
- What activities would you like to add?
Diligent practice of our relationship skills, the trust and co-operation that has accumulated culminates in our enhanced ability to do the metaphoric dance of relationship with elegance, style and beauty. The flow state may show itself in the form of athletic or intellectual pursuits, adventure, or creative expression. You might find your joy by literally dancing together, singing together, writing together, teaching together, in the form of ecstatic love making, having a compelling conversation, raising children together with inspiration, or creating an abundant, interesting, loving life together.
It’s possible. So what if it’s lots of work. Depending on the regularity with which you participate in these behaviors, elegant delight will characterize your partnership. Is there anything that would be more important to do with our time?