WHEN it comes to love, it’s the little things that count. You notice a couple that are really good together by the tiny caring moments between them, not the showy special occasion gestures.
Anyone with cash can spend a bomb on a romantic dinner out or a balloon ride over the Serengeti, but real love means showing up for the more mundane daily labours of affection.
Here are a few tiny acts of daily loving that have a big impact.
1. Small kindnesses
Making her tea in the morning, turning the electric blanket on when he’s coming home late, getting her clothes off the line before it rains, sending a tiny loving text message in the middle of a long hard day; all these small acts of kindness build a kind of loving safety in your relationship.
This isn’t mothering, mollycoddling or codependence; it’s simple loving kindness that builds trust and tenderness between you.
2. Thanks and praise
How often do you say thank you for the little things your lover does for you? The dinners cooked, the keys found, tolerating your sometimes crazy family, fixing your computer or making your bed? Good loving is never a thankless task.
People who love you well aren’t afraid to say thank you and they’re not too proud to sing your praises either. Without someone reflecting back our good points we become like cats with no pats; a bit feral and prone to straying. Praise and thanks make us feel seen, appreciated and important.
3. Doing their thing
Love, despite its solid reputation as a feeling, is actually a verb. One of the most important ways to show some real love action is to risk doing something your sweetie really enjoys that you’re not so sure about. I’m not talking about sex you don’t feel like or major tax evasion, I’m talking about movies, food, sport and travel destinations that are a bit outside of your comfort zone.
It’s pretty simple; if you can’t put yourself out, you can’t love. Being able to do things their way shows you care enough to delay your own gratification long enough to get to know the things that really make your partner’s wheels turn.
4. Checking in
I’m not suggesting you pester your paramour with constant queries and messages of love and life minutia, but please don’t forget the business of checking in with how they are. Checking in lets your nearest and dearest know that you care about how they’re feeling and that you want to hear about the day to day business of how they’re going in the world.
Make time to check in. Ask about the things they’re working on and struggling with. And don’t forget the key ingredient to a good check in; really listen to what they tell you.
5. Protect the space
Make your time together sacred. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you’re going to show up, show up. Don’t let your plans together be hijacked by work, chores or general slackness. Dependably prioritising your life together by doing the tiny task of being someone your partner can count on is priceless.
When it comes to love, it pays to sweat the small stuff. And as my mother would say, the ability to be kind, to say please and thank you, to put yourself out for other people, to listen and to be dependable are all things that show character. And good character and good loving go hand in hand.
Zoe Krupka is a psychotherapist with experience in relationship counselling. Read Zoe’s blog at www.zoekrupka.com