Relationships and All That Jazz

I love it when my Sweetheart plans a date for us. “I’ve been missing just spending time with you and I’d like a date”, he said. He had been working a lot and so had I, and it made me feel really loved to know that he is equally dedicated to the care and feeding of our relationship as I am. So off we went to a wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a Chilean jazz singer that neither one of us had ever heard of.

Love Jazz

I must confess here that I wasn’t initially taken with the idea of going to a jazz show. Although I am many, many years out of practice, I trained as a classical pianist from childhood through my first year in college. Classical music appeals both to my inner artist and my inner engineer: beautiful and logical all at the same time. But jazz? I could appreciate a beautiful voice or adept musicianship, but the spontaneous, unpredictable structure of it quarreled with, let’s face it, my occasional desire for control. And who knows how long the obligatory drum solo could last? It could theoretically go on all night and I sometimes get impatient. Even though we had attended a wonderful jazz performance in the early phase of our dating and had a great time, I was still a little hesitant, wanting to keep things fresh and at the same time, not wanting to spend the energy to break our routine.

On the other hand, I recalled that an effective strategy for keeping the bonds of connection over time strong is to do new activities together that neither one of you had done before. At the start of a relationship, everything is new and surprising, and it follows that over time, your partner becomes predictable (and so do you!)

From New Love: A Short Shelf Life, by psychologist Sonya Lyubomirsky writes,

“Surprise is a potent force. When something novel occurs, we tend to pay attention, to appreciate the experience or circumstance, and to remember it. We are less likely to take our marriage for granted when it continues to deliver strong emotional reactions in us. Also, uncertainty sometimes enhances the pleasure of positive events.”

There is a lot of nodding in Jazz. The musicians nod when they are riffing, the audience nods along as if to say, “I’m with ya, brother.” The venue was small, intimate, the performers only a few feet away. I found myself being drawn in by the singer’s apparent bliss at sharing her talents with us. I nodded, too.

There is a lot of nodding in good relationships. We ‘nod’ whenever we thank the people we love for what they bring to our lives. We ‘nod’ whenever we listen to our Sweethearts even if we are tired and want to watch Downton Abbey. And perhaps most importantly, we ‘nod’ to the improvisational nature of our romantic relationships when we get out of our thinking ruts and risk keeping our love fresh and sustainable. I’m with ya, brother.

And that’s Love Applied.

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Comments

  1. Chilean jazz singer – who would have thought??

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