Smile-Power in Marriage

Posted by: Shel 12 Comments

            Who are you saving your smile for? A disgruntled coworker? A parent you cut off in the drop-off lane? We use smiles in a deliberate way Smile-power in Marriagebecause we know their power. An upward twist of the lips can stop a griping employee in his tracks or ease the tension in a chaotic situation.

            Smile-power can also be used on your mate. It can be a mood changer. Even a day changer. We can set the tone for the day by greeting our mate with a bright smile. Or we can shuffle into the kitchen, ignore our loved one, and mumble about how the sun came up too soon – again.   

            Don’t waste your energy telling me that you’re “just not a morning person” or you “can’t be human until past the first cup of coffee.” You could muster up a smile if you put your mind to it.

            Imagine that you walked into the room and your favorite celebrity was sitting there. Now (assuming you’re not in Porky Pig jammies, you’d run a comb through your hair, and brushed your morning breath away) wouldn’t you automatically flash a thousand watt smile?

            Or how about this: you slog your bleary self over to the coffee pot and propped in front of it is a $500 check with your name on it. Go ahead – tell me that wouldn’t make you smile.

            See? You can do it – you just need the right motivation. Then you need to evaluate why that event is more motivating than lifting the spirits of your mate – your cherished life partner – with such little effort.

            Take your smile-power with you through the day. When your mate comes in the door, put aside the magazine you’re flipping through or look up from the computer and honor them with eye contact and a welcoming smile.

            If you’re the one coming through the door, enter with a smile instead of immediately launching in about injustices of the day. There will be time to share after making the connection that lets your mate know you’re glad to see them.

            I’m not saying walk around all day with a goofy grin on your face. Just allow your face to light up when you encounter your spouse. It actually takes less effort and fewer muscles to smile than frown.

            And smiles are contagious. They are one of the few things we can sincerely give away and get right back.

Ever have a good result by using your smile-power? Tell us about it in the comment section below!


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  • Thank you for writing about this! I have worked with clients who are self conscious about their smiles, and smile infrequently. They are surprised at the positive response they receive when they start “smiling anyway”! It is a powerful nonverbal cue that draws positive people to the smilee and usually is reciprocated. Must smile all the way up to the eyes though- don’t you think? Fakers don’t get a genuine response back. 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Love the insight, Lisa. And I totally agree with you about the smile – it’s a face thing, not just a mouth thing!

  • This is soooo great, Shel. I am amazed at how closed so many of us are to pleasantries! I smile and say “hello” to strangers all the time and so many of them look at me in shock and keep walking! I just want to grab them and say “It’s okay to smile and say hello back!!”

    • Shel Harrington

      Yeah – isn’t that sidewalk phenom weird where people look at you until close than suddenly they look down like the cement just got fascinating? Keep smiling, Amy!

  • Such a good reminder!

    As for the power of smiling, I’ve had much success. However, I do not recommend smiling and waving at a hostile driver. It makes them really angry–especially when you keep smiling and waving. But you’re right. Smiling does feel good.;)

    • Shel Harrington

      I don’t doubt that you have have great success when you smile, Brandi – you have a beautifulsmile! I think if one smiles at a hostile driver they better also being mouthing “I’m so sorry!” and if they are waving they should keep all fingers up!

      • Aw, thank you, Shel. For the record, I do keep all fingers up when I wave, but the same can’t be said for drivers I’ve waved at!

        Also, I wanted to tell you I mentioned this post to my husband and we’ve been trying to smile more. We’ll say, “Where’s my sparkle?” It’s working!

  • Gina

    So true Shel. Mya Angelo said, The best gift you can give your child is to allow your face to light up when you see them. I always thought that applied equally to our spouses.

    • Shel Harrington

      And anybody else that we want to know how special we think they are!

  • Have had MANY good results by using a smile when I’d rather have a different expression on my face…hahahaha. It’s amazing how forcing myself to smile can result in my actually FEELING better. 😀 Thanks for a great reminder! I’m guilty of waiting until I feel like smiling in the morning, but I’ll bet doing it right away would make both of our days start off better!

    • Shel Harrington

      Good point about feeling better when smiling – bonus!

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