It really is the little things.
You just have to stay cool and read this with your spouse. You know those couples who are so darn cute all the time? Those people who are so in love and just seem to have it all figured out? What is their secret? Well, it might be simpler than you think. We asked real women and relationship experts to share some of the daily habits that occur in super-loving bonds. Prepare to get inspired:
SHARE A RITUAL
“At night before bed, I started putting wrinkle cream on my husband! At first he would protest and grumble, but now he requests it and closes his eyes and takes in a moment of pampering. And every day, he sends me ‘Songs of the Day,’ which we call SODs. He finds songs on YouTube that express how he feels and sends them as links via email. They always make me smile—I often cry. He started when we were dating, and they have continued. Sometimes I send them back, but his are always better.” —Christina H.
DOLE OUT COMPLIMENTS
“I seriously tell my husband at least once a day how hot and handsome he is. And every time I do, he looks at me and I SWEAR he gets tears in his eyes and says, ‘Thank you for saying that.’” —Melissa Chapman,
“Couples should take five minutes each morning and each night to simply hold each other. This is a wonderful way to start and end your day. Though you may give a hug before leaving for work or hug your partner before falling asleep, this is a focused moment to consciously share with your partner. —Charley Ferrer,
“Every morning, I leave for work before my man. And we have the same ritual: When I’m at the door, I holler out, ‘Bye!’ And he says, “Wait!” and runs over to tell me I look pretty and to kiss me goodbye. We never, ever leave the house without kissing each other goodbye.” —Aryn Q.
“When we go to bed, whoever goes first always ‘butters’ the other person’s toothbrush so that when the other person comes to bed his or her toothbrush is already ‘pasted’ and waiting! It’s a sweet little gesture, a reminder that we love each other. (And yes, there are definitely nights when we are annoyed with one another and the toothbrush accidentally does not get ‘buttered!’) We do this in the a.m., too…whoever gets up first to brush his or her teeth puts toothpaste on the other’s toothbrush.” —Stephanie E.
HAVE PILLOW TALK
“Every night, we talk about our day at work, our concerns, our future, and pretty much anything else we want to get off our chests. It is our special moment where we are spending quality time with each other and are most relaxed.” —Felicia R.
“We are both career people—very busy all the time. I make time to make my husband’s lunch for work every day. He makes a point of thanking me every day, whether it be as he leaves for work or upon his return. Without ever discussing it, gratitude plays a big part in the happiness of our union. We express sincere gratitude for everything: He takes me to dinner, I always say thank you; I cook us a dinner, he always says thank you. When we express ourselves with passion, it is always magical and filled with gratitude.” —Dea S.
SPOIL EACH OTHER
“Seriously, we base our relationship on what my husband, Kevin, calls ‘mutual spoilage.’ While other couples might notice what they perceive as slights and ‘get each other back’ for them (‘He didn’t take out the garbage, so I’m not going to do the dishes!’), we compete to see who can be nicer. So if Kevin takes out the garbage, I’ll show him! I’ll fold his laundry and put it away for him! This approach—as well as always assuming that the other person is always doing his or her best—has served us well. We are more in love now than we were 22 years ago. —Mary W.
BE HAPPY TO SEE EACH OTHER
“Lighting up when your partner walks in the room will send positive reverberations through your relationship no matter how long you’ve been together. Be happy to see you partner, whether it is first thing in the morning or when you walk through the door in the evening. Too many couples let the day wear them down and then ‘dump’ on their partner as soon as they see them. Your spouse is not your emotional garbage can. This might feel artificial at first, but try it. It will be infectious and will change the dynamic or your relationship.” —Tonya Lester
WALK THIS WAY
“We take a five to 10 minute walk together at night. It helps that we have a dog to motivate us! For us, the walk is great because we are away from our phones, computers, and work distractions, and we can talk openly about our day, our thoughts, our frustrations. Sometimes we just admire the sky together. The focused time together helps us reduce misunderstandings and stress.” —Stacy
START THE DAY RIGHT
“My husband brings me coffee in bed in the morning. Since I work from home, I’ll often walk with him to work in the morning to get the day started together.” —Chelsea J.
TEXT SWEET NOTHINGS
“My husband is really good at texting me little love messages throughout the day. We all know little things we can do that our partners would like, so couples can engage in any of these small behaviors to influence the environment in a relationship. As a therapist, I know that too often, people want to do something grandiose and then sit back and watch to see if their spouse “appreciates it,” and if they perceive that the spouse did not, they can justify not doing anything anymore. It helps more to make a list of small things your spouse would like and do those, so you aren’t keeping score all the time. Small gestures, big rewards.” —Lori Schade,
And this is just what you need to bring out that spark in your married life!
It really is the little things.