- Lao Tzu
RANDOM acts of kindness can feed your intimate relationship with feelings of warmth and love but can also add value to any other relationship you care about.
Sometimes we think that relationships are made or broken on the grand gestures, the big fights, the small lies, the presents, the open toothpaste or the messy office space. But we can strengthen our relationships immensely with more attention and mindfulness to the details.
Kindness is an essential virtue in healthy relationships. A recent study conducted in various cultures around the world asked people to name the trait they desired most in a mate. For both sexes, people overwhelmingly wanted their mates to be kind.
Deposit a good feeling in your relationship. A note on a napkin, a kiss on the cheek, a loving SMS during the day, a helping hand in the house, holding the door open, carry the shopping bag, or a coffee in bed. While we are very attentive and caring in the first couple of months of a relationship, and we pay attention to likes and dislikes of our partner, we tend to lose that ability when the relationship grows older. We take our input to the relationship or family, and the value we add to each other for granted and forget to appreciate it.
Make it a habit to consciously pay attention to your spouse, family members and friends and offer acts of kindness and an appreciating on a regular basis.
Make it a date
For couples with children, it is sometimes even more difficult to pay attention to each other. We show great leadership and parenting skills dealing with our offspring but often cut the attention short when dealing with our spouse. As parents, we keep track of multiple events or juggling two careers, what makes it harder to carve out sweetheart time.
It is, therefore, essential to plan your time together for just the two of you.
Make it a habit of choosing at least 30 minutes a day just for your spouse. Share a meal or just a coffee break, while the kids are taken care of otherwise. Take a walk or take time together for sports or other activities you like. Set a time a day for the two of you to meet in “your room” to share your day's activities, your successes or disappointments. Set one evening a week to meet friends, go to a movie, concert or show, or take the time to play a game.
Compliment and appreciate daily
Often when months and years go by, we start to fall into the habit to take each other, and the contribution of the other to the relationship or family for granted. While we paid a compliment to every little change, a new dress, haircut or a well-fitting tie when the relationship was new and exciting, we kind of stop caring about the small stuff when a relationship grows older.
We forget to appreciate the small contributions, the fact that there is food in the house, the clothes are washed and ironed, the fact that household finances are taken care off, the bills paid on time and there is money left for holidays. Yes, you may have contributed to all that but it takes the sharing of responsibilities of the two of you to make your partnership and family run smooth.
Make it a habit of paying a compliment or word of appreciation to your spouse to remind him or her on a regular basis that you appreciate and value the contribution to your relationship.
Voice your trust in your spouse
We get used to daily habits and take each other and each other’s preferences for granted. But people and preferences change. We grow personally and develop with challenges we face inside and outside our relationship and family structure. With the result, that we might value contributions of our spouse to our relationship and life differently over time. Maybe our beliefs, personal values, visions and priorities in life change, what can lead to misconceptions, miscommunications and misunderstandings.
Pay attention to changes and be aware that change is just a natural process of life. If a change, a statement, an action or an attitude of your spouse is confusing or upsetting you, don’t hesitate to communicate your feelings. It is always better to address uncertainties straight away than to swallow them to avoid a discussion. To share your feelings and concerns when they arise is also a proof of trust and commitment to your relationship.
It is not always easy to understand what the other might feel or when looking at a change or development but often we don’t fully need to understand, nor do we need to offer a helping hand.
Voice your trust in your spouse’s development, your commitment to sharing whatever comes your way and your efforts to be open to deal with the difficulties that might arise.
We wish you a great February.