Little things make a big difference in relationship…
All it takes is a little attention on your part.
What a wonderful intention to set for the New Year…
A concrete way of building connection and sustainability…
When we think of loving connection with our partners, as the thing that might keep relationship thriving for the long run, we can have in mind some romantic movie star moment of running into our partners arms on the beach, dinner in fancy restaurants or nights of really hot sex.
But studies by John M Gottman Phd have shown that it’s the little things we do in our relationships on a consistent basis that build the glue to keep us together for the long run.
In fact, the presence or absence of these things even predict the potential future of a relationship.
If these little moments of connection are happening, the likelihood of your relationship surviving, even thriving, is significant.
Gottman says that moments of connection are like an emotional bank account. When you’ve built them up to a sizeable tally you’re more likely to survive the moments of stress and fracture that occur in any relationship, due to the strength of connection stored in your ‘bank’.
It’s these little moments that can be so easy to lose in the busyness of our daily lives, caught up in our own heads; or to take for granted that they will happen without effort on our part.
But if you knew they would make the difference between happy ever after and the divorce court would you be motivated to make the effort?
What kind of things are we talking about here?
Well yes, there are the usual things like flowers and chocolates, or dressing up in lingerie. But they don’t even need to be as obvious as these.
Here are just a few we’ve complied:
- Bothering to reply when your partner makes a comment
- Doing kind things such as grabbing them a coffee on your way home
- Looking them in the eye when they’re speaking, giving them your full attention
- Asking about things you know are of interest to them
- Sharing a smile that has a hint of sexual fire (without agenda)
- Holding back that critical remark or cutting comment and taking a breath instead
- Listening without giving advice
- Touching the small of their back as you pass by them
- Offering to massage their neck, shoulders, hands or feet (without sexual agenda)
- Sharing a 10 second melting hug
- Making your partner laugh in the middle of an argument
- Watching TV or a movie together
- Eating breakfast together
- Choosing to go somewhere your spouse wants to go
- Offering a sexual treat
- Be willing to say I’m sorry
- Shopping for groceries together
- Going for a walk or walking the dog together
- Working at home, but still together in some way
- Sharing a slow kiss
- Gardening or washing the car together
- Attending your children’s performances together
- Sharing a sport, interest or hobby
- Sharing a challenging task you can complete together
- Supporting a point of view that is important to your partner by finding a positive in it
- Validating them in their moment of vulnerability
- Choosing to share some vulnerability of your own
- Add in some of your own…
Some of these may sound so obvious as to not even need mentioning but in modern lives they no longer automatically happen. They’re powerful because they develop an important sense of “we” in your relationship.
It’s important not to keep a tally of your partner’s acts of connection in order to build up a grievance against them. Instead focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t.
If you feel resistant to the idea of doing things with, or for your partner take some time to feel into your resistance and get clear on what is behind it, don’t just ignore it.
If you offer and your partner is resistant, let their reaction be about where they are at, not you. Breathe your feelings of rejection into your heart and out through your body releasing them. Try again another time.
3 suggestions of things you can do that really touch your partner’s heart
To decrease your chances of rejection and increase the effectiveness of your moments of connection invite your partner to give you 3 suggestions of things you can do that really touch their hearts. Often when we want to give to, or connect with our partners we think of ways that work for us, when they may not hit the spot at all for our significant other. If we have something we know will really reach them (even if they seem irrelevant to us) it’s a lot easier to reach out with success.
Share 3 things with your partner that really work for you, so they have a ready selection to choose from too. Avoid things that are a source of trigger between you, this is about connection not frustration.
Some great ways to bring some new life into the most treasured area of your life – your intimate relationship, that could literally mean the difference between the life and death of it.