If someone asks you to describe an act of love in your relationship, what image comes to mind? A bouquet of fresh flowers whipped from behind your partner’s back? A weekend getaway you planned for just the two of you? Or how about when they (or you) dropped to one knee with a velveteen box?
All of these things are real examples of expressing love for one another. And these grand gestures are great, but science says the excitement of those moments doesn’t actually last. Instead, it’s the small moments that matter most in a long-term committed relationship.
Universal Acts That Communicate Appreciation for Your Relationship
Everything listed below is something you’ve heard of. Something you already know how to do… at least theoretically. Writing them down in black and white, though, always seems to have a greater impact on struggling couples.
Take a look, and think about whether you and your partner have done any of these things for one another lately. If you haven’t, try!
Reach Out to Your Partner… and Actually Touch Them
Physical contact is proven to promote relaxation and a sense of nearness that sometimes fades in a relationship over time.
The act of touching your partner — a cuddle, a squeeze, a foot massage — actually stimulates the production of bonding hormones in your body and in your partner.
Genuinely Compliment Them
Acknowledge some accomplishment they share with you. Notice something good in your partner and say it to them aloud. Make a concerted effort to express gratitude for one another.
Underestimating the power of your kind words is a huge misstep in fortifying your long-term commitment.
Become a Better Listener
Imago philosophy says that we often become consumed with our own experience — especially when we’ve been hurt by our partner. As time goes by without addressing old issues, we tend to withdraw as a method of self-preservation. We stop listening.
Appreciating your partner’s experience by listening carefully and letting them know you hear them will nearly instantaneously change the dynamic of your relationship.
Do Something Nice
Connecting with your partner doesn’t have to be deep or complex. It could be a little love note on the fridge or an unexpected text. Or how about managing a chore you know your partner just hates to do?
When you recognize your partner’s preferences and wishes and then act on them in a positive way, you are reminding them of the connection and intimacy between you.
Successful and committed couples who seek to strengthen their relationship know day-to-day acts of appreciation are what fuels a truly healthy relationship. Even better, making your partner feel important and valued doesn’t have to cost you a month’s salary!
If you need help coming up with simple ways to make a bigger positive impact on your relationship, reach out to Oregon-based relationship coaches Tim Higdon and Norene Gonsiewski.