We love big moments and swoon-inducing gestures as much as the next girl. But we also know that it’s the small moments and daily demonstrations of thoughtfulness that provide the glue for meaningful lifelong relationships. That refresh our relationships. This year we’re thinking about that “glue” and how to make it even stronger.
When we look back on our histories with our partners, we all tend to hold the same flashbulb memories close—the moment he got on his knee and we said “yes” and, later, “I do;” the first time we met our partner’s gaze over our newborn child; the statement necklace presented on a significant birthday. The thing about these flashbulb memories and diamond-ring moments is that they are all one-offs—unique milestones that remain imprinted on our memories but rarely repeat themselves, which is one reason we cherish them so.
While the diamond-ring moments are important highlights in our lives, we all know that it’s the ways that we connect with our partners on a daily basis that make or break a relationship. And the great news is that the small ways in which we regularly interact are things that we can practice and get better at. That might not sound so romantic, but the fact is that our ongoing attention to and time for one another in our lives are what add up to successful, lasting partnerships and a whole lot of love and happiness together over time.
As our lives get busier and more complicated with work, aging parents and children, our small-scale attention to our relationships can get swallowed up. But time and again, science has shown that it’s the subtle ways we honor and demonstrate affectionate respect for one another in our marriages and relationships that guarantee their longevity. One recent study indicates that the enthusiasm with which we react to one another’s good news is a key component of a positive and lasting relationship. Another shows that chores, of all things, and the division of labor within a household are also significant determining factors of a happy marriage.
So, we’re thinking about the ways we can up the ante in our daily lives with our partners. We are renewing our commitments—our vows, really—to one another’s happiness, as well as to our collective satisfaction and strengths as a couple.
A few things and key verbs we are considering:
- How can we regularly show, not just tell, our partners that we care?
- How can we do a better job of listening to their concerns and frustrations?
- How can we honor their hard work in our relationship?
- How can we sustain our commitments to caring for one another?
In the spirit of sweating the small stuff—well, not sweating, really, but giving it due attention—we launch our ten-day Relationship Refresh plan. Sign up and every day we’ll send you a tip to get you and your partner connecting in a small, but meaningful way on a daily basis. Think of it as a fine-tuning of your partnership and a reminder of the ways in which our small gestures and indications that we care for one another make a big, lasting difference in our lives. Not only do we want you feeling the love, but we want you to want your partner in all the ways, year-round, and through a lifetime together.