Commonly when ‘in love’, it is believed that when thinking about our partner these thoughts occupy our minds in its entirety. However, this is not the case. The sole activity which stimulates our brain in this way is music.
As we all know, ‘no relationship is perfect, and every relationship takes work’. I would suggest that the value of music in achieving this can be seen through Charlie Parker’s remark, “if you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” Superficially this reflects his experience as a jazz musician. However, more importantly it expresses the undeniable link between music and social, cultural and psychological aspects of life, aspects that encompass and influence life in a relationship. So, what better way to communicate than through the tool that is music?
Whilst music is not witchcraft, neither is it just notes on a page, as it is often misconstrued. In fact, contemporary research promotes music as a therapeutic agent, and even further as something that should be prescribed by GPs as part of a new “social prescribing” plan. Therefore, how can music help you and your loved one? Despite the stage of one’s relationship, whether it is just starting out or is more weathered, it is fair to say that we all strive for it to be in a healthy state.
But what is ‘healthy’? According to The World Health Organisation, a human is healthy when they are: ‘in a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. So, when applied to a relationship we can interpret this as meaning one that is not only lacking spark at best or more seriously is blighted by strain, but one which is truly happy throughout.
What better way to communicate than through the tool that is music?
This highlights the new direction for the measure of health which focuses on how well we actually feel as opposed to only how unwell we feel. This can be aided by music as it has a recognised long-standing positive effect on health, particularly focused upon by research into the “Mozart Effect”.
No two of us are the same and everyone to some extent has different preferences and musical appreciations. No doubt this leads to interesting conversations. Having said that, it is preferable for there to be some common ground to reap the most benefit. Now more than ever music is ubiquitous, and this can only work to your advantage within a relationship. For example, if your significant other has had a hard day, put the music on that you know will help to distract them from it.
Music is immersive through its state of ‘flow’ which can help separate the different aspects of someone’s life, differentiating between the labour of work and the rest bite they can seek through you. Not only does this reduce the risk of arguments, but also increases the quality of time spent together and the understanding that you’ll have for your partner, as you delve more deeply into which genres of music complement their psyche and when.
Music can also compliment physical health. If you and your partner share a love for hip hop or salsa music, then what better way to get fitter together than through a local dance class. This also engages you with your partner as you carve out time for each other and can forge lasting memories in the presence of a song which may later be coined “our song”.
Music can also compliment physical health
Furthermore, music is by nature social and a great method of communication. Be it in discussions at gatherings, through technology or one to one, music is one of the few aspects of life which is truly universal, breaking all political and language barriers which are so often stumbling blocks. Music can also act as a predictor of how your date or relationship will turn out, becoming a helping hand as we frequently visit the question, “are we really compatible?”.
In a study published in the Journal of Psychological Science in 2006, it was found that college students were likely to ask about each other’s music tastes before many other topics. Such knowledge is said to have helped them predict the other’s personalities and values. In the same vain, music is often a symbol of identity.
When I reflect on the fact that I am a classical musician, I acknowledge that music really has influenced who I am today. It is therefore unlikely I would choose to be with a non-musician. Why is this? Put simply, you remove the communicative aspect that music has opened up for me, as it can be assumed that there will be less common ground between us.
We must, however, also remember that sometimes music can act as an irritant in a relationship and that some people dislike music altogether. If we look at relationships more broadly, I’m sure the scenario of parent vs child regarding music choice on the morning school run, or arguments about the volume and the tension that inevitably ensues, will easily come to most people’s minds. So, when we’re choosing our partner, I don’t think it’s always true that opposites attract.