Never underestimate the power of small gestures. They can make or break a relationship. So if you want to keep yours, start implementing them today.
Change is not an easy thing to make in a relationship, especially if you’ve been together long-term. It’s not uncommon for couples to sink so deeply into habits and routines that they forget to put effort into their relationship, or they simply can’t tell the difference between what works and what doesn’t anymore.
Once apathy sets in, and you neglect the most important relationship in your life, you drift apart, and that’s when things start to deteriorate. It’ll impact everything from how you feel in the morning to how to go about your day.
You don’t want a dark cloud hanging over your head all day, do you? You don’t want to feel the tingling feeling of dread every time you walk through the front door at home, right? You don’t ever want to consider what life will be like without your partner, do you?
Well, the good news is that you can change everything about your current situation and empower your relationship. It doesn’t even take massive effort on your part. All you need to do is to implement the tiniest of changes in your routine. and you’ll be shocked at how much of a positive impact it’ll have on your relationship and your life.
Tiny changes to positively impact your relationship
The key to leading a happy life is to start improving things at home, and there’s no better relationship to tackle first than the one you share with your life partner. Here are the 13 small changes that you can make to positively impact your relationship in a huge way. There’s no need to do them all at once. Start with a couple, and implement more as you go along.
#1 Show appreciation. According to an article penned by Nathan Feiles and published on PsychCentral, “The ability to show appreciation to the important people in our lives is heavily underrated. When we feel underappreciated, it can start eating away at our relationships.” Feiles makes a good point, as many divorced couples complained of not being appreciated enough, hence one of the many reasons their relationship broke down.
Something simple like buying your wife flowers on the way home or treating your husband to his favorite sashimi dinner counts as appreciative gestures. As small as this change is, it’ll make a world of difference in your relationship. [Read: 25 ways to make your guy feel appreciated and cared for]
#2 Give thanks. For example, if your wife made a delicious pot roast for dinner, don’t take her for granted, but instead, tell her, “Thanks for dinner, honey. It was amazing!” Or if your husband finished the household’s monthly accounts, you should say, “Thanks for doing that despite how busy you are.” No matter what your spouse did, thank them for making the effort.
#3 Say I love you. Saying these three little words will mean the world to your partner, especially if you don’t say it as often as you should. Whether it’s in a text, through a phone call, or in person, let your loved one know how much they mean to you. [Read: 10 ways to say “I love you” to someone special]
#4 Listen rather than speak. Fights are normal in every relationship, but there’s a reason why the really bad ones tend to get out of hand to the point of no return, and that is because both parties speak more than they listen. [Read: 10 ways to be a better listener]
Why not flip things upside down by listening more than you speak? This will let your partner know that you’re really hearing them out, and that no matter whose fault it was, you’re ready to listen, iron things out, and let it go.
#5 Make time. Your partner is the most important person in your life, so it doesn’t make any sense that you set aside the least amount of time for them. Work tends to eat up a majority of the day, then comes stuff like preparing dinner, tidying up the house, taking the dog for a walk, putting the kids to bed, and so on.
No matter how busy you are, be sure to make time for your loved one. Whether it’s cuddling and having a chat in bed or planning a day of fun over the weekend, be sure to dedicate time to your relationship.
#6 Be positive. Another small change that can positively impact your relationship is positivity itself. Instead of being grumpy and sullen, try to inject some positivity into your day. You’ll be surprised at how far-reaching your good mood can be.
As wonderful as my father is, he can get really grumpy at times, and I remember my siblings and I walking on eggshells every time he was in one of his moods. Don’t freak everyone out just because you’re not feeling stellar, and try to promote a feel-good vibe with those around you.
#7 Don’t bring stress home. Be mindful of your attitude, and try not to bring external stresses back home. You may have had a bad day at the office, you may have been stuck in ungodly traffic, or you may have broken a high heel as you were hurrying onto the subway. No matter what happened, it wasn’t your partner’s fault, so instead of being a grouch about it, share what happened, let them make you feel better, then move on.
#8 Walk more. The whole point is to be a fitter and healthier version of your current self. Instead of taking the bus for those couple of blocks, walk. Instead of parking in the spot that’s closest to the elevator, pick one that’s furthest away and walk. The more walking you do, the more calories you burn, and the higher your metabolism rate will become.
The fitter you are, the more energy you’ll have, and the better you’ll look and feel. Plus, you’ll be more psyched for sexual romps with your partner. No one ever complained about having a high sex drive!
#9 Tune out technology at the table. Treat meal times like your sacred together-time. Be sure to put aside all forms of technology while you eat, or at the very least, put them on silent mode. Don’t let an incoming text, work email, or something as silly as a Facebook notification get in the way of you dining with your loved one.
#10 Touch more. Touch your lover more often, and you’ll notice the positive impact that it’ll have on your relationship. Act like teenagers and indulge in PDA without worrying about what others will think. You should also hug more, and be sure to give your lover a kiss before you walk out the door every morning. Do the same thing the moment you walk through the door at the end of the day. [Read: 10 non-sexual touches to feel connected and loved]
#11 Communicate in an affectionate manner. Ever watched the hit television sitcom How I Met Your Mother? The adorable married couple, Lily and Marshall, called each other Lily-pad and Marshmallow. Some researchers and life coaches call this “knowing your partner’s love language.” The cuter you behave with each other, the better it will be for your relationship. Never stop using pet names, as it reaffirms the strong and loving bond that you share with each other.
#12 Let things go. Instead of being a petty snob, learn to let things go. It doesn’t matter that your wife forgot to replenish the soy milk, and it certainly doesn’t matter that your husband treats the doorway like a laundry basket. Communicate well, forgive and forget, and you’ll find that your relationship will be a happier and healthier one.
#13 Give up selfishness. Try not to be so selfish all the time. I know that you work hard to provide for your family and that sometimes, you just want to be left alone to your own devices. As important as alone time is, it’s also important that you focus on what your partner wants and to do stuff that they have an interest in.
Try to take on the role of giver more than receiver. Your partner will notice this and start mimicking you, not because they feel bad, but because they love you and want you to be happy, too. Hence, when you have two big givers in a relationship, everybody wins. [Read: 12 signs you’re being selfish in your relationship]
Change is very exciting and can very well influence the direction your relationship takes. It’s not always the big changes that matter, but rather the small, almost imperceptible ones. Trust me when I say that they add up and carry way more weight than the big stuff.
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Born in Singapore and raised in Malaysia to multi-racial parents, Lianne is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the wor...