Our 10 Principles of a Happy Life & Marriage

Actually, it’s hard to narrow it down to 10. 🙂

But here’s a solid start in summarizing what has made a massive difference to us as we’ve worked to live with more peace and happiness over the last 10+ years.

It’s all about learning to be happy individually. 

And a bonus: if you can be happy *individually*, every relationship or marriage will be enhanced as well. 

In fact, I don’t think it’s possible to truly experience an ongoing healthy relationship if you don’t know how to be happy on your own. (ouch. I know. But I think it’s possible for all of us to get better at this.)

Okay, here are some principles to get started…

1. Happiness is a choice.

The sooner we can learn that, the better. Too often we think that others “make” us have the emotions we experience. But that’s only when we let them. We usually let others “control” us in that way when our ego is super attached to the outcome or when our self-worth feels like it’s on the line. But really, if we were practiced enough – the truth is it would be possible to stay on course with who we desire to be, no matter what comes our way.

2. True love is when you can give it, without expectations.

In other words, if you embody the highest kind of love, you are able to offer it, even if expectations are not met. If we “love” only when we’re getting what we want, then the moment the person starts threatening our worth (as a person, spouse, family member, etc.), the chances are we will stop seeing the person as a human being and we’ll likely pile on the pressure, disappointment, shame, disgust, manipulation, or fear. And if that’s the case, then perhaps it wasn’t really love to begin with…

3. Self-worth must come from within.

It’s human nature to base our worth on soooo many outside things like our job, relationship status, appearance, financial status – but if we make a habit of this, we will never be fulfilled. Every circumstance changes (and sometimes often). So we need to stop looking to the outside for our worth, unless we want to chase it for a lifetime…

4. Trials refine us. Fear is an ally.

What are you resisting right now? Whatever it is, THAT is your teacher. THAT is the way you’ll learn to find peace. Be grateful for all that stuff you wish you didn’t have to face, because without it, you would never learn to surrender and experience true peace, in spite of circumstances. Instead of being afraid, be grateful. See the fear as an opportunity to refine yourself just a little bit more.

5. Managing our energy is key.

Each day we have a limited amount of energy. If we burn through it rapidly on stupid stuff, we will be so depleted that we can no longer even handle the little things, let alone the more important things. So: make peace with that parking ticket, that broken phone, that extra bit of cellulite. The energy you burn on that is dragging you away from being able to handle big life things in a better way.

6. Healing=Care of the Body+Soul

It’s crazy hard to handle life when your hormones are amuck, your gut is destroyed, your energy is tanked, your migraines are on fire, and your anger and moods are all over the place. Whole foods, movement, and stress-relief are ESSENTIAL to sustainable wellness and stability. I have learned this the very hard way. I just can’t stress it enough to combine physical healing WITH emotional healing if you’re wanting to live with more vitality and learn to respond to life’s challenges in a healthier way.

7. Boundaries are self-love.

Sometimes it’s necessary (out of self-respect) to set a boundary with someone who is abusive or toxic in some way. Certainly love, forgiveness, and compassion can still be something you work on or even embody (independently) – but it doesn’t mean you need to be in the presence of abuse.

8. Love will never fail the possessor.

You know that famous scripture that says “Charity never faileth”? Well, charity often fails to heal a relationship and it often fails to change someone or get them to do what you desire (even when it’s in their best interest). So while there is no guarantee that charity will lead to desired outcomes, we like to say that charity never fails THE POSSESSOR. In other words, if YOU embody love/charity, it will help you release fear and anger. It will help you forgive. It will help you be free. No doubt about that.

9. Happiness is the pursuit of virtues.

We talk a lot about “choosing happiness.” But it’s a bit tricky because we’re not actually talking about choosing happiness…ha. We’re talking about choosing an action that leads to a state of happiness. We think the most effective actions (that lead to happiness) are those that involve virtues. For example, choose gratitude, love, forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, etc. – and guaranteed, you’ll feel a moment of happiness! As Aristotle once said: “Happiness is an activity of the soul, in accordance with Virtue.” And we have found that to be true again and again and again.

10. The Language of Love is learned.

The language of love is how you can speak when you live by all of the above. You don’t need to have learned any of this from parents or grandparents. We know you can learn for YOURSELF how to do all of this – no matter your childhood, no matter your past relationships, no matter your failures or mistakes. We know it’s possible to change – and it’s our undying passion to help you do that.

Whew! Thanks for reading this! I know these are just snippets, but we go in much, much greater detail in all of our offerings. We hope you’ll join us! It’s worth it!

Love Always,

Mara

What are some of your principles for a happy life or marriage? We would be so happy to hear them! I’m sure other people would be, too.

P.S. If you liked this post, please share it along. XOXO

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8 Comments

  1. jana chambers May 10, 2017 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Hey Danny and Mara! I wanted to tell you guys that I’m getting married on June third:) It is super exciting and the coolest thing is that we both believe in the list above and are so happy to do the work it takes to have a really healthy and loving relationship! I wanted to thank you for helping me align with this path because I truly feel like I would not have been ready to meet Spencer if I hadn’t learned this stuff from you guys! I will always be so grateful for both of you for sharing your work and your passion and for helping so many of us align with love! I can’t think of a better life’s work and I wish you all the best as you continue forward!! xoxoxo

    • Mara Kofoed May 10, 2017 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      Jana!! This news is soooo wonderful!!! I’m just elated. And well, your note makes all of our efforts worth it. There is nothing more rewarding to me than seeing that any of this has made a difference for someone – and especially for a family. I am just amazed by you – and have been since we met. You are extraordinary. It is such a gift to have crossed paths with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And I send my absolute best for your wedding and this new chapter with Spencer. Love you!

    • Danny Kofoed May 10, 2017 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      I know Mara already commented, but how can I not join the celebration!

      You’ve done some amazing work since we’ve known you Jana, so happy to hear that it has created a space in you and in your life for a healthy relationship. Much love to you and to yours!
      D

  2. Erin May 10, 2017 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    Wonderful post 🙂 I just met someone and I have brought this to our relationship. He has already made the journey himself to want all these things in a relationship so it’s perfect :)) I always in life implement a ‘pause ‘ in situations that could cause me angst. Before I react I ask myself if I could show love to myself or to the situation. Very effective and I can’t remember the last time I felt negative 🙂

    • Mara Kofoed May 10, 2017 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      looove the “pause”. So great. I do this, too. And in fact doing this helped me to take the reins in response to a very difficult situation once – and it was actually the first time I made a shift (towards a love mindset.) This is what began my entire new path…because I finally realized how much power I had to respond differently.

  3. anita May 11, 2017 at 2:13 am - Reply

    great to see you guys back! the new website looks amazing! I signed up for the emails, on day 2 and loving it! Thank you! I’ve directed many people to your website, and one of the difficult things was trying to help people navigate where to start. I think the emails are going to be a really great place for people to begin. making it a goal to attend a body and soul camp in the future!

    • Mara Kofoed May 11, 2017 at 2:56 am - Reply

      Oh, this note makes me smile. The old site was just a pile of posts and we hope this new site does indeed help people navigate things easier. SO glad you’re loving the emails so far!! And YESSS to Body+Soul Camp. I wish I could zap every single person there because the whole experience really is so cleansing and transformative. We plan to launch the next dates as soon as we can. Our schedule is a little unknown at the moment as we have a move pending. But we are chomping at the bit to get our timing worked out so we can get back to scheduling retreats. XO

  4. Libby December 13, 2017 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Every night before bed, my husband and I tell each other one thing we are grateful for about one another. It really makes a difference to show appreciation and feel it.

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