IN RELATIONSHIPS, IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT LIFE IS MADE UP OF MANY SMALL THINGS, SO IT’S THE SO-CALLED “SMALL” ACTS OF LOVE THAT MAKE A BIG IMPRESSION.
Men suffer needlessly. I’m a man, so I know from firsthand experience. We tend to believe we’re responsible for a woman’s happiness and her unhappiness. It’s a tough road. Narcissism can be painful. Because of this sense of over-responsibility, we then believe we have to deliver big things to make the right impression, so we forget about the sweet card, a rose on her pillow, the daily moment-to-moment reminders we miss because we’re too focused on the eventual European vacation or weekend getaway we always plan in our minds but never take.
It wasn’t always that way. In the beginning of the relationship, the courting phase, we seemed to pay a lot closer attention to making the right impression with small gestures. Are we thinking that as time goes by the ante is raised and we have to deliver more? Are we driven to impress on the front end to close the deal and then convinced that we’ve caught the fish, so whatever happens, whenever it happens, won’t impact the relationship? For many men it may be a combination of both. Yet for some the investment in the relationship tends to breed more responsibility. Bigger home, kids, travel, schools — all of these tend to take up more and more of our time, which means less and less time to focus on those once small gestures that meant the world.
Regardless of the reason or the story as to why it’s not still a priority, what are some of the things we can do as men to get back to delivering those small moments of sharing our love and appreciation? I’ve put together a list that can and will make all the difference.
A list of small big things to turn your relationship around
First and foremost, drop the trip or weekend away you keep pretending is going to happen. Either calendar it or let it go until you decide it’s time. Clear the mental space for the little things to step forward.
Second, you’re busy, fully engaged in your life, so if you don’t set an appointment or a reminder, it doesn’t get done. Time to do that for your partner as well. You don’t just need time to make money; you need time to make your partner smile. And despite thinking that money will always do that, it won’t. Set reminder notices on your calendar for different days of the week. Perhaps Monday is flower day, when you get a small bouquet that she can energetically carry with her for the week. If she works in an office, have a steady delivery in place. Even if it’s once a month, set it up so it happens without fail.
Third, plan a date night. A new activity. Or how about a new restaurant or type of food? Bring some wonder back into the relationship and the opportunity to create new experiences together. Breaking out of the routine of things sends her a very powerful message that she is never taken for granted.
Fourth, text or e-mail a quick thought or feeling as it comes forward for you during the day. If she calls you at work and you can’t talk, let her know that she’s important to you and that you will call her back at a specific agreed-upon time. If it’s an emergency, clear your calendar. The greatest message a woman can receive from her man is that she is above all loved and cared for.
Other small but important gestures: Leave a note on the bathroom mirror or pick up her favorite snack on the way home or serve her a light, healthy and tasty breakfast in bed. Send her a card each week. I use a great service where I can create cards online in advance and program the system to send them out when I want. A real card that goes to a real mailbox makes a much larger impression than sending a free e-card, yet by all means do something.
Most importantly, whatever you agree to do, be consistent about it. To keep a plant alive and growing, you don’t water it whenever you feel like it; don’t convince yourself that your relationship deserves any less or that it will flourish without attention. Consistency also breeds and nurtures trust, which every successful relationship must have. If it’s not consistent, then it becomes understood that when it happens, it is somehow attached to wanting something or some ulterior motive. It also states you’re not my priority.
And one last piece of advice for your consideration: Think of this as fun. Make it so. If it feels like a task or a chore, it will be received that way. That will not be fun for anyone.