By Robyn Donnelly, Co-ordinator Marriage and Relationship Education - CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning.
What a lovely reminder Valentine’s Day on 14th February is for those in a relationship – however it is a timely reminder that we should be thinking about what we should be doing daily for our partner.
Leading relationship expert, Dr John Gottman says this: “Small Things Often” and it is the small things often - more often, which make a relationship fulfilling and keeps couples connected.
Some of my favourite quotes highlight this:
- “The greatest gift you can give your children is a strong relationship between the parents”
- “Great relationships are built on a deep friendship, mutual respect and enjoyment of each others company”
- “What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while”
So if it’s the small things daily and not just the biggest box of chocolates, an expensive dinner out, a bunch of flowers, a new shirt or tie… that count in the long-term.
What is it that you can do to show your partner that you are living your love intentionally?
Here are a few ideas which may get you thinking of how you can do “small things often” and turn towards your partner to show them you are loving them intentionally. In turn these small things will add to your emotional bank account, deposits that create a stronger bond in your partnership.
- Kiss like you mean it (remember your dating kisses and now due to being busy a peck on the cheek is the daily routine) - always kiss hello and goodbye on the lips;
- Ask you partner what a great night in is and plan it by surprise after work one night or this weekend;
- Take over one of their jobs or responsibilities for the next week or two;
- Ask your partner their favourite meal and cook it this weekend;
- Break routine – go out for breakfast during the week before you both head off to work;
- Show an interest in your partners world by asking questions and listening and then ….. asking more questions about the topic – and stay interested;
- Compliment your partner often;
- Play a board game;
- Suggest an evening walk after dinner to buy ice cream or coffee;
- Take a packed dinner to the beach or park;
- Ask your partner often “what do you need from me right now”;
- Buy the book “7 Principles of Making a Marriage Work” and read it together; and
- Never stop saying thank you or being polite to your partner;
Here is an idea for Valentine's Day: Write a list of the things you love and admire about your partner and hand it to them on Valentines day with a credit note saying – How can I help you today?
That doesn’t sound too hard (but some would say not that’s not very exciting) but it is these small gestures which are going help you stay connected and ensure your partner feels a priority or special.
Have a great Valentines Day – for me a reminder day – what should we be doing more often!
More tips, next week...
Robyn has been involved in the field of Marriage & Relationship Education for over 20 years; approximately 14 of these with Catholic Care (formerly known as Centacare). Robyn’s passion for supporting couples at all stages of their commitment - pre, post marriage and parenting is contagious, she is a strong believer that prevention is better than cure. Robyn is a FOCCUS facilitator, Co-ordinator & Facilitator of Before We Say I Do Group Programs and Bringing Baby Home Workshops as well as a program called ENHANCE, enrichment sessions she created for post marriage couples in Newcastle, NSW.
Robyn was awarded the Inaugural 2014 Marriage and Relationship Educators Association (MAREAA) Award for Innovation and Excellence in the marriage & relationship field and is currently the NSW Representative for MAREAA NSW.