Make Small Gestures
Why it works: Sometimes the best validation that someone lives you is to see proof that they are always thinking of you in tiny but touching ways. Planning a romantic night for two on the town takes thought and is always appreciated, but buying your husband a red velvet cupcake just because you happened to walk by a bakery, see it in the window, and knew he would love it shows he is your number one. It’s that for-no-real-reason feeling that makes it mean so much.
Try This: “I had been waiting for a song to be available on iTunes and eventually given up and then forgot about it,” says my friend Keira. “Out of the blue, my husband told me to check my iPod for a surprise, and there was the song!
Do a Chore She Always Does
Why it works: A division of labor makes the house hold run smoothly. But if you take on your mate’s chore once in a while, your actions will be completely appreciated. Dry the dishes, take out the trash, make the morning coffee, or clean out of the DVR queue. When you love someone, you pitch in even when you’re not asked. It’s the gift of time that costs nothing! You’re not trying to usurp duties- he might like shredding old papers- but giving him a break means he has one less item to worry about and more free time to spend with you, read a book, or just sit with his eyes closed on Saturday afternoon after a hard work week.
Try This: “I don’t think my husband realizes that the laundry basket is not his dresser,” says Lee. “He’ll leave clean clothes crumpled in it and go about his business, but one day I came home and found he not only folded and put away his clothes but he also folded mine (in my preferred method) and wisely left them stacked neatly for me to put away. He has not done it since, but that one time meant so much.”
Give Each Other Space
Why it works: You’ll be so much more excited to see each other. Even those couples that are joined at the hip sometimes require a little alone time – not to brood or escape – to refresh in a quiet, personal way. Perhaps you don’t understand the need for solo moments. That’s fine. But if your husband enjoys winding down from a long day with only himself and maybe the dog for company, or your wife likes to be alone with her thoughts on Sunday night, allow it to happen guilt free. You don’t need much distance to make the heart grow fonder, but it always does.
Try This: When we get home from work, DH is always there and we love it – But sometimes – just sometimes – it would be nice to walk into an empty house and slip into a lavender-scented bath without having to speak. If your spouse never gets to enjoy solitude at home, conveniently come home late of make a plan to run errands alone for one afternoon. He won’t take the bait? Get a little more obvious. Suggest he browse his favorite used bookstore while you hit the farmer’s market. Go off and do your own things, then come back together with plenty to talk about.
Write it down
Why it works: Telling your mate how much she means to you is not always easy, and let’s face it, can be kind of sappy. But if you make it cute, it’s both sentimental and sweet. We’re not talking long love letters, but an “I love you” written on a dry erase board in the kitchen or a “have a great day” left on a post-it is all it takes to let you other half know you cared enough to take the time to write it down.
Try This: “My husband used to travel all the time for business and I wanted to make sure he knew I was missing him,” says Jane. “So I found this index card and drew two caricatures of us and stuck it in his suitcase. When he found it, he called to tell me it made his day. Now he takes it with him every time he travels, and he puts in it in my luggage when I go!”
Why it works: Agreeing to try something you always veto or join her somewhere you always try to get out of, shows you are listening and putting her need first. We don’t like going to crowded movie theaters – sticky floors and noisy people put us on edge. So, a trip to the multiplex is always rejected. But every now and then we simply say, “Okay! Let’s catch a film!” Giving in just a little bit make his face beam. Is seeing Johnny Depp on the big screen really so much to ask?
Try This: We’re not suggesting you go out of your way to do something you truly despise (fishing, shopping, the car show, your sister-in-law) but one fairly innocuous, temporary thing. Let him flip to the game and keep watching – and don’t leave the couch. Seeing your mate enjoying himself will not only give you a special feeling, but he’ll be walking on a cloud knowing that you’re involved. Maybe even have sex the next time you feel kind of tired and might not be into it.
Why it works: This is not about you and that’s why it makes you feel so great –together. Working to make the world better, or just to put a smile on a kid’s face, gives you a bigger sense of purpose. When you join your purpose in doing a good deed, it just makes you love each other so much more. Volunteering does not have to take you far from home and there’s something to suit everyone. You can wrap gifts for the homeless, stuff envelops for a nonprofit, walk animals from the shelter, put on a play at a children’s hospital, deliver food to homebound elderly (or just play gin rummy with them,) or teach computer skills and shoot a basketball with special-needs kids.
Try This: “Kevin and I started volunteering together in college for Project Appalachia, so during spring break, we’d travel to West Virginia or Kentucky and do everything from building houses from the ground up to repairing trailers that had been flooded or helping in a day care center,” says Carrie, who continues their work in the region through Habitat for Humanity. “Volunteering together makes us feel like our love isn’t only something the two of us share, but something we can share with the world to help make it a better place. It gives our marriage an even deeper meaning and brings us closer together in the process. When you submerse yourself in a culture that knows nothing else than being truly poor and only having their family and their mountains around them, well, it makes your problems seem small, because they are.”
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