It’s the little things that matter the most: [Elaborating a bit more on the little things point made in an earlier post in my relationship’s catagory]
Every relationship is different but there are some things that are the same, no matter how you look at it.
Whether the relationship is between a father and daughter, a mother and son, husband and wife, or significant other there is one thing that all of these relationships have in common. The little things in our relationships with people often tend to mean more than extravagant gestures, now this is not to say that a person does not enjoy a grand show of affection or gifts. No, this is to say that a long lasting relationship, a healthy relationship needs more than just that. In this entry, I will offer some healthy tips for you to use in helping those relationships last.
One thing that is universal across all of the types of relationships to make them stronger and last longer is a rather simple thing, something that can help you in both personal and professional relationships too, just listen. Listening to what a person has to say, how they feel, and what their hopes and dreams are, in listening to them you are learning more about them and how to connect with them on a deeper level. We hear what people say all day long, but it only takes a few moments to actually listen to what a person is saying or for that matter isn’t saying.
How well do you actually know the person you are in a relationship with? Have you taken the time to really and truly know them as a person and not just how they make you feel. Many people get so caught up in the honeymoon phase of a romantic relationship that sometimes they lose sight of who the person is outside of the carnal desires. Once a person loses sight of who they are in a relationship with, who they really are inside and out, the relationship as a whole can suffer.
Tips for the Romantic Relationship, now some of these may seem very small in the grand scheme of things but they do help with the romantic connection between two people.
1: How do they take their drink? For instance, surprising them with coffee, tea, or cocoa; as small as that may seem it sometimes can make the day start off very special if you surprise them with the drink just the way they like it.
2: Ask them simple questions even if you have been in a relationship with them for quite some time, our preferences are ever changing when it comes to favorite songs, movies, books, television, and even colors. Make sure that you as their partner are up to date on what they are currently interested in; it makes it easier when thinking about gifts and sometimes, it is just good for random conversations.
3: Not everything has to be said; sometimes just being able to be there next to the person you love is enough for them. Cuddling up in bed, watching a movie, cooking together, reading a book while snuggling up to your partner who is looking at something on their device, going on long walks or even a car ride just to be with them. Moments like this are not about sex or even about having to speak your emotions out loud, they are more about being in the moment and being with the person you love. They create a sense of closeness and intimacy on another level.
4: Don’t worry if the sex isn’t always there, life throws us many curve balls as we grow into ourselves and into our relationships. There are many ways to be intimate with your partner that have no sexual undertones. Take a shower together, wash your partner’s back and or hair for them. Give your partner a much needed back or foot rub at the end of the day. Cook their favorite meal or surprise them with a trip to their favorite restraint after a long week. You can also write them spontaneous little love notes and hide them in their bag for work, in their desk at home, or even in their car, these little notes sometimes make all the difference to a person who needs words of affirmation in a relationship more than a physical relationship.
5: Communicate! I cannot stress this one enough; the key to any successful relationship is communication, along with trust it is the building blocks in a relationship. The more you communicate your feelings and theirs, the more you will come to understand, the more you understand the more you can trust and be open with the person. Tell them about your feelings too, it does not always have to be out loud, you can always write it down if you are better with the written word. This is not an easy one, but it is simple. Sometimes you may end up in a relationship with someone who is not good at communicating how they feel, and you know what, that is okay. Not everyone finds it an easy task to open up to another human being; it leaves them vulnerable and sometimes feeling a little bit raw. Emotions are some of the hardest things we have to deal with; they come in many different shades and actions.
If you have issues with communicating here is an article that works with taking small steps to better open that line of communication with your partner:
Here are 6 ways to improve emotional communication and deepen your relationship, without ever even mentioning “the F Word” (feelings): by F. Diane Barth, L.C.S.W.
1. Make small talk. You may think talking about a TV show or even the weather is far from connecting emotionally, but these supposedly insignificant details are actually more likely to improve your close emotional ties to your partner than a so-called “deep” discussion of your feelings. American psychoanalyst Harry Stack Sullivan developed an approach that he called “detailed inquiry,” in which he suggested that therapists gather information about all parts of a client’s life. In those tiny details, Sullivan believed, could be found clues to who a person is. More recently, John Gottman and Janice Driver researched this idea with a group of married couples and found that “the mundane and often fleeting moments” that are part of a couple’s daily life have a greater impact on the health of the relationship than do apparently emotionally meaningful and serious conversations. (I wrote about this in an earlier post, and in my book, Daydreaming: Unlock the Creative Power of Your Mind.)
Bored when your partner recounts the details of a plumbing problem or the movie he or she watched last night? You may think you know all of the details of your partner’s life. Maybe it really feels like too much information. But it’s a way of getting closer, according to Gottman and Driver. Even making a grocery list together can be a way of sharing space and time, and can become a way of showing love—for instance, when you add your partner’s favorite cookies to the list without being asked.
You may feel like asking for tiny details will seem rude, intrusive, or critical. But keep in mind that you’re not asking for details to catch your partner doing something wrong. You’re letting them know that you care about them and are interested in what interests them. Maybe you won’t learn anything new—but you will communicate a genuine interest in the small details that make up your partner’s day. And it’s those insignificant moments that make up the reality of our lives.
2. Don’t just ask about small insignificant experiences. Share them. A recent study published in Psychological Science found that we feel closer to others when we can talk about experiences we have in common. I have found, for example, that couples having relationship difficulties can take a first step to repairing a rupture by talking about their children, especially if they can be encouraged to speak of pleasant moments or cute incidents. Of course, since many conflicts occur around the rearing of families, you will have to be careful not to bring up moments that will trigger further discord. But even if something you say does start a conflict, you can find a shared moment by recognizing that you were both trying to figure out the best solution for a child that you love.
These shared experiences do not have to be in words. A second study reported in Psychological Science showed that words are not necessary for the shared feelings to improve a relationship. Just doing something at the same time—riding bikes, watching a movie, or eating dessert, intensifies both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a tiny action can be worth even more. Reach out and take your partner’s hand. Or if one or both of you are not the hand-holding type, simply stand so that some small part of your body makes contact, even if only for a few seconds. These are times when talking about the experience can actually destroy the moment of intimacy. Just share it in silence.
3. Listen carefully. Knowing that you are being heard is one of the experiences most likely to cement a feeling of connection to another. One way to improve your listening skills is to use a technique called “active listening.” This is a form of listening in which you acknowledge not only that you are listening—as with a nod of the head or saying “uh-huh”— but also that you understand what is being said. Understanding can be communicated with a smile, a word or a phrase that captures what they’re saying, or even with a simple “I understand”—if you really do understand. Interestingly, active listening can also involve interruptions for clarification or even disagreements. If you interrupt, be sure to ask permission. “Sorry, can I ask you a question?” is a reasonable way to do it. Then ask something that is clearly related to clarifying what your partner is telling you. If you disagree with the overall concept or with their handling of a situation, wait until they have finished talking before you express disagreement. But if you are not sure that they have accurately described something, you can ask for more clarification—without accusing them of lying, of course.
4. Ask questions, and don’t assume that you know the answers.
5. Talk about yourself, but don’t take all of the air. Finding a healthy balance between talking and listening is difficult in most relationships, but even harder as you get to know each other, so it’s important that you both get a chance to talk and listen.
6. Once you’ve become aware of some of the hidden shared moments you’re having with your partner, see if you can find ways to increase your daily amount of insignificant experiences together. If one—or both—of you are not so good at putting your feelings into words, or even describing the mundane details of your day, don’t worry. Go back to numbers 1 and 2 on this list. Simply spending time together doing unimportant and supposedly meaningless activities—reading the paper, listening to music, watching TV, or doing laundry—is far more important to the health of a relationship than talking about feelings. It may even be more important than talking at all.