38Such a manifest material performance of the novel’s generic identity is functionally important not only to the vast public of non-readers, but also to the book’s target audience of self-identified category romance readers. Like the public, the romance reader recognizes the stereotype-driven public code as signaling the romance generic identity. This generic identification of the novel triggers, as has been established by Janice Radway’s seminal study of romance readers, a set of generic expectations on the part of the reader. When the text meets these generic expectations – as the strongly conventional, editorially carefully controlled category romance specifically aims to do – the reader is satisfied. This interplay between the creation of generic expectations, the fulfilling of these expectations and the resulting reader satisfaction is of vital commercial importance to the category romance novel, as it provides the core impetus for the reader to want to repeat the reading experience by reading – that is, buying – other category romance novels.
You have built expectations about social rivalry from your past experience. The frustrations and disappointments of your past built circuits that make it easy for you to feel bad about being in the one-down position and bad about being in the one-up position. You could spend your whole life longing for the position you’re not in. Or you could build up the circuits that find the good in what you have and help you learn how to feel good out of habit:
Think about buying toilet paper in 7-Eleven. It will likely be one brand, in one-roll quantities, and it will likely cost you four bucks. 7-Eleven is a great chain of stores, but they excel at convenience, not low price or variety. What does this mean? If you badly need a roll of toilet paper, you’ll take the individually wrapped roll of Scott’s they have and forego your desire to get the Charmin Ultra Soft you normally prefer. (Which, at the risk of oversharing, is my favorite.)
33These exemplary analyses of three aspects of the category romance’s material packaging indicate the systematic manner in which a double codification of this materiality is created. The potential for a double interpretation is a semiotic pattern that is present in nearly every aspect of these material conditions and that is implemented in a coherent and coordinated way. This suggests that far from being a random or coincidental effect, this semiotic pattern is a deliberate strategy on the part of the category romance novel’s producers, who seek to influence the reception and interpretation of the text.
Think of emotions such as sadness, stress and anxiety as red flags that your mind wants you to pay attention to, Gielan explains. If you’re angry, for example, it likely means there’s an injustice that you want to correct. If you’re anxious, there may be a threat you need to attend to. And if you’re sad, it means you care about a situation so deeply that it’s causing you distress. Negative feelings can also serve as the catalyst you need to transition to a better place in your life — a new job or a different relationship, for example. 
Sounds silly? It’s not. Consider creating them with friends or family members to see if their perception of you holds any weight in your plans for the future. Friends and family members can act as a mirror for ourselves at times. Seeing them surprised by your interest in different things may cause you to either think twice about that decision or pursue it with more vigor.
Get enough sleep. Making a habit of sleeping at least 7 or 8 hours each night will definitely make you feel happier. You’d be surprised by how much a good night’s sleep can improve your mood – and by how much a bad night’s sleep can make you think that you hate everybody and that the world is a terrible place. Happier people make taking care of their minds and bodies a priority, and this is something you should prioritize if you want to feel happier, as well.[5]

The best answer she could come up with was this: Her husband was neither a good husband nor a bad husband. He was just a husband. He was the way that husbands are. As she spoke about him, it was as though the word “husband” connoted a job description, or even a species, far more than it represented any particularly cherished or frustrating individual. The role of “husband” was simple enough, involving as it did a set of tasks that her man had obviously fulfilled to a satisfactory degree throughout their life together—as did most other women’s husbands, she suggested, unless you were unlucky and got yourself a realdud. The grandmother even went so far as to say that it is not so important, in the end, which man a woman marries. With rare exceptions, one man is pretty much the same as another.
The first one is “hesed,” which is God’s covenantal, loyal love. You could you could describe that as commitment love, committed love. He crowns us, he surrounds us. He exalts us to a place of living in his committed, loyal, durable, enduring, steadfast love. The kind of love that does not fluctuate with feelings. The kind of love that does not change whether you have a good day or a bad day or you wake up feeling like a Christian or a pagan. It’s a steadfast, loyal love. He surrounds us with that loyal love.
This book made me look at marriage and commitment in a whole new light. So interesting to learn how less Westernized cultures view the dynamic of marriage and the role it plays in their personal lives and in the community - all while following her personal journey and the thoughts she wrestles with. There are points of merit and value to be taken to heart from these societies, which I loved.

Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage 1, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow up assessments proved to be radically different:
4 For more on the global distribution and consumption of category romances in different linguistic and cultural contexts, see Eva Hemmungs Wirtén’s “They Seek it Here, They Seek it There, They Seek it Everywhere: Looking for the ‘Global’ Book,” Peter Darbyshire, “Romancing the World: Harlequin Romances, the Capitalist Dream, and the Conquest of Europe and Asia,” George Paizis’ “Category Romance in the Era of Globalization: The Story of Harlequin” and An Goris’ “Romance the World Over.”
The app sent alerts asking people how happy they felt — on an 11-point scale from "not at all" to "extremely" — throughout the day. By analyzing over 3 million submissions from more than 50,000 volunteers, the researchers discovered that on average, people experienced an 8% increase in happiness when they were with friends, compared to a 1.4% increase with parents, and just a 0.7% increase when they were with their children.
28As we can see in these examples, these scenes are marked by a strong sense of conventionality. This is no coincidence ; indeed, scenes that are selected as preview scenes usually depict a narrative moment that is instantly recognizable as a conventional part of a traditional romance plot. These scenes frequently zoom in onfeelings of sexual attraction and/or romantic conflict between the protagonists and depict events such as the erotically charged moments preceding the characters’ first kiss or their first time making love. Invariably ending on an (erotic) cliffhanger, the preview scene is often a kind of narrative equivalent of the clinch image and is charged with the same sense of expectation, (sexual) tension and narrative determinism that marks the clinch. Like the clinch, the preview scene also represents a stereotypical image of the romance genre, not only because it depicts a very clichéd moment in the romance narrative, but also because this representation is rendered in a highly conventionalized, even hackneyed discourse.
Please understand, I am not an anthropologist and I acknowledge that I am operating far above my pay grade when I make any conjectures whatsoever about Hmong culture. My personal experience with these women was limited to a single afternoon’s conversation, with a twelve-year-old child acting as a translator, so I think it’s safe to assume that I probably missed a smidge of nuance about this ancient and intricate society. I also concede that these women may have found my questions intrusive, if not outright offensive. Why should they have told their most intimate stories to me, a nosy interloper? And even if they were somehow trying to impart information to me about their relationships, it’s likely that certain subtle messages fell by the wayside through mistranslation or a simple lack of cross-cultural understanding.
Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., grew up surrounded by unhappiness and was determined to make sense of it. She was not convinced by theories of human motivation she learned in school, so she kept searching. When she learned about the effect brain chemicals have on animals, human frustrations suddenly made sense, so she retired from teaching and founded the Inner Mammal Institute. The Inner Mammal Institute provides tools that help people make peace with the animal inside. It has helped thousands of people learn to manage their neurochemical ups and downs. Discover your inner mammal at InnerMammalInstitute.org

Commitment is about being with another person in a relationship, but love is not always necessary. A person may want to be with someone else because they have affection for them, or it may just be a feeling of comfort that motivates them. Being at ease with another person is part of a relationship, and this may suffice for someone to remain with their partner. If formal vows have been taken by the couple, a person may feel responsible for staying together. This does not necessarily signify love or caring, but it does form the basis of their commitment.
As an example of just the opposite of sufficient commitment, I vividly recall a little scene of a young couple at an airport. I was on a layover when I overheard their argument. (I wasn’t eavesdropping as much as they were talking so loudly that I could not help but notice.) The tension was about her wanting to dress warmer for the flight and him wanting her to stay dressed just as she was. She was in quite short shorts and some type of sleeveless, very light shirt. She didn’t want to be cold on the flight. 
If you are a person who likes everything neat, let junk pile up for six weeks as a surprising way to feel happy and good. But if you are a person who hates order and loves chaos, put things away as soon as you use them for six weeks. Color outside the lines if that’s new for you, but if you already pride yourself on that, courageously stay inside the lines. It might feel awful on Day One, but forty-four days later it will feel curiously safe.
At a time when it seems that nearly everyone has a Friendster account, Moore says, "You can do really creepy stuff. You can get the profiles on everyone in your local café, then see who their friends are, and just walk up to them and ask, 'Aren't you Tom's friend?'" More disturbing, Moore's toolkit allows him to get zip codes and last names, making it easier to track down the real-world addresses of his targets, thus opening up a whole new universe of creepiness. "You could do all sorts of mean things," he says.
I had no problem with any of this, by the way. I had long ago learned that when you are the giant, alien visitor to a remote and foreign culture it is sort of your job to become an object of ridicule. It’s the least you can do, really, as a polite guest. Soon more women—neighbors and relations—poured into the house. They also showed me their weavings, stuck their hats on my head, crammed my arms full of their babies, pointed at me, and laughed.
One of the most beautiful pictures of this combination came through at the very end of the movie “The Passion” when Jesus was hanging on the cross and gave up the spirit. He was literally, there was a transactional love there. He was literally assuming the guilt of every sin you ever committed on himself and dying on your behalf. But then the camera goes up and looks down, and I don’t know if you can see it, but that is a giant teardrop falling from heaven to earth and that is a beautiful scene, communicating right there both the committed love, which drove Christ to the cross. “For God so loved the world, he gave his only be gotten Son.”
Amy is a relationship columnist for the 24 Hours Newspaper and a blogger for The Huffington Post and The Vancouver Sun. She has been featured in FASHION Magazine, The Georgia Straight, Ming Pao Magazine and her essay “The Infinite Chase” was published in a book to support ‘End Sex Trafficking Day’ along with notable authors such as Seth Godin and Danielle LaPorte. Most recently was shortlisted as a nominee for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.

Never having written a review before, I felt I needed to say something about this book and this series. This book, the meeting, dating and romance and love of Nell and Daniel was entertaining, funny, understandably nerve-wracking, and oh so real. I love these people. As a female computer scientist, going to school in the 70's, it did not surprise me that Daniel would not take Nell's coding skills seriously. Nor was I surprised by how this hacker-jock would be tied in knots by Nell the women. But, the getting from meeting to marrying was as real (and happy and sad) as any I have known. The book was a joy. The series is so much more.


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Again, the very shape of my curiosity seemed a mystery to the grandmother. Politely, though, she gave it a try. She had never particularly met her husband before she married him, she tried to explain. She’d seen him around, of course. There are always a lot of people around, you know. She couldn’t really remember. Anyway, she said, it is not an important question as to whether or not she knew him when she was a young girl. After all, as she concluded to the delight of the other women in the room, she certainly knows him now.
As Mr. Webster explained in his typically open and matter-of-fact Yankee manner, he had gotten married because his brother had instructed him to get married. Arthur was soon going to be taking over the family farm and therefore he needed a wife. You cannot run a proper farm without a wife, any more than you can run a proper farm without a tractor. It was an unsentimental message, but dairy farming in New England was an unsentimental business, and Arthur knew his brother’s edict was on target. So, the diligent and obedient young Mr. Webster went out there into the world and dutifully secured him self a wife. You got the feeling, listening to his narrative, that any number of young ladies might have gotten the job of being “Mrs. Webster,” instead of Lillian herself, and it wouldn’t have made a huge difference to anyone at the time. Arthur just happened to settle on the blonde one, the one who worked over at the Extension Service in town. She was the right age for it. She was nice. She was healthy. She was good. She would do.
Visiting a museum or seeing a concert is yet another way to boost your mood. A study that examined 50,000 adults' levels of life satisfaction in Norway found that people who participated in more cultural activities reported lower levels of anxiety and depression. They also had a higher satisfaction with their overall quality of life. So go see a play or join a club!
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