Are you happy, darling?
I can see myself being happy with her.
What can I do to make you happy?
I couldn’t be happier. How about you?
For Americans (actual citizens, that is, because otherwise it does not apply) it’s right there in the constitution. It is worth quoting:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The pursuit of happiness is a lifelong adventure. My experience is that whilst it can appear ephemeral and fragile – like the polar auroras – there are ways to muscle it up. Practice, for one. Choice, for another. And setting a low bar as one’s threshold helps. For instance the cup of tea that I sip as I write makes me happy. You get the drift.
Separate from our own personal happiness is the matter of happiness within a couple. Maybe it’s too simple to state, but I’ll do it anyway: happy couples are likely to be happy individuals.
You see I think happiness is located not in the world around us, but somewhere between the part in our hair and the gaps between our toes. That pursuit mentioned in the US constitution makes you think of chasing bears, but I think those guys in powdered wigs and hose were smart enough to know that, while it might include chasing any number of animals, lasting happiness comes from tapping what’s within.
I am big on being overt about stuff, especially in coupledom, so why not a plan for happiness with your beloved? Talking about how to be happy with your someone special makes a lot of sense to me, mostly because the very act of combining both of your minds will open up a conversation that happens all too infrequently. The question is:
Let’s be happy. How do we find that together?
Addendum: The Claremont Institute has this nice interpretation:
It is worth remarking that the Declaration does not proclaim a right to happiness itself. Happiness is not something we have by nature. Rather we are born with minds and talents that we may use to pursue happiness.