It often feels like what makes or breaks a relationship are the big things. The knock-down, drag-out fights. The grand gestures of love. How many extravagant vacations you took (or didn't take).
The truth is it's the small things that distinguish happy couples from unhappy couples.
Small things often.
That's our catchphrase (although, we must credit the Gottman's). If you look at the smaller interactions with your partner - how you greet each other after work, what your response is when he shares an article with you - you will feel the tone of your relationship. Which direction are you heading?
We don't greet each other,
I roll my eyes when I see him watching football.
He doesn't reach out to me during the day.
We have a six-second kiss every day.
We watch The Walking Dead together every Sunday night without fail.
I text him when I'm on my way home from work.
How can I get my relationship back on track?
1 | Identify something you already do together. This is probably the easiest place to begin. Think about how you and your partner spend your time. Do you sometimes do a Sunday breakfast? Have you gone food shopping together here and there? Choose one thing (it doesn't matter what it is) and agree to ritualize it. The key here is that you're both willing to engage in the activity together. Set a schedule so you can count on it happening consistently.
2 | Choose a new activity that you'd both like to do. Now, I want you to do the same thing as Step 1, but with a new activity. Have you two always talked about taking a cooking class? What about binge watching Breaking Bad? Do it! Again, make sure you're both on the same page and set a schedule so it's something that will happen automatically.
3 | Do one small thing every day for your partner's benefit. This is something only you will know about. Look for little ways you can communicate love and consideration to your partner each day. Happy couples may shoot a text saying "I love you" or "I'm thinking about you," send a funny video or meme, or bring home their significant other's favorite dessert. (Small things often).
What's one thing you can do today to move your relationship forward in a positive way? Commit to at least one of the three suggestions above for a week and look for the changes!
Meredith Silversmith, MA, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Co-Founder, and Clinical Director of Nassau Wellness. Meredith is passionate about her work and truly enjoys her time with clients. She specializes in couples therapy, chronic conflict, infidelity, communication issues, and teen issues. Read more...