1. says

    Generosity is an awesome quality in general. So it follows that those people would have healthy, happier marriages. It’s just like cooking. If you start with quality ingredients, you’re more likely to get a healthy, delicious result. The same is true for quality people.

  2. says

    I loved this piece in the NY Times today and thought of blogging on it but you beat me to it! I completely agree with the generosity = happy marriage equation. My husband and I always pour a cup for the other when making coffee. It’s amazing how meaningful that one simple act is.

  3. Robert says

    I think generosity is only one of the many love reinforcing mechanisms necessary for a successful relationship. Perhaps it is an “icing on the cake” kind of thing, a small visual indicator to the partner, and those external to the relationship, of the regard held. But if the underlying foundation is not in place it is no substitute, and it may well be employed as a means of fooling yourself and your partner about what you do/don’t have.

    There is a book called The Five Love Languages which says that people can express or expect love through Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service (generosity), and Physical Touch. To me, these are all in the same league – nice to have as love complements, but by themselves in no sense a replacement for deep regard, emotion and commitment.

    But when you know the foundation is sound, all of these can make it ever so much sweeter!

  4. says

    My Love Language is Touch. Sweetheart’s is Quality Time with Acts of Service a close second. I don’t think either of us care about gifts and words of affirmation are nice and all but they just don’t rise to the level of being the end all of love.

    But the generosity. Oh it is wonderful. I don’t know if it is something I think about until it is given and then I melt.

    The other day we were getting ready to leave for our final couples meeting iwth the adoption social worker (next is the physical home study!!!). I had been upstairs working and had my little space heater running. Money is beyond tight and we only run the heat when I’m going on the stair machine or for a brief period in the evnings–and not every evening. Well we were going to be leaving, so no heat. He took an extra portable heater I use for going on the stair machine and heated the bathroom with it–in prep for me taking a shower. I have extreme sensitivity to cold–my fingers, toes and nose can be little ice blocks in 70 or even 80 degree sun. When I got down and saw what he was doing I melted. It meant so much. He had done it just for me, without my asking and as a surprise. That tiny gesture made my day and I bragged to others about it. The icing on the cake, I guess since it was extra. But it is those little extras that create the melt-your-heart memories.

  5. says

    Good things to cultivate and practice—in and out of marriage: affection and kind touch communicates closeness and love when words, if we’re fearful or hurt, tend only to fuel our distrust and isolation. Relationship poison is contempt (eye rolling, exasperated sighs, condescension) and the balm is just as you generously offer it up here. If we keep in mind that fear leads to meanness, we might not take meanness a personally and instead learn that we can be the parents, the bigger one in the difficult moment in a marriage, or other relationship—and reap the rewards of more closeness, fun and good cheer. Let’s do it—let’s strive for affection and generosity across the board (and hope it brings optimal sex in the bed).

  6. says

    Shared generosity is a key element in good, stable relationships. Marriage is perhaps the best example. It really works for Fran and me. Fortunately, we are well matched in this. That’s good, because we can get into extreme debates about very obscure (to most people) topics. (Will “extreme debates” ever replace “extreme sports” for public interest?) I’ll copy from Fran’s Facebook yesterday (the immediate stimulus was discussion of her weekend workshop):

    I am so grateful for my husband’s support, trust, encouragement and love as I struggle to learn and challenge myself to become the person I need to be.

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