May 29, 2024
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA
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Small Things That Keep Relationships Strong


Take The Time to Appreciate The Tiny, Wonderful Things About Your Partner – and Then Tell Them!

I remember reading an article on Buzzfeed a few years ago. Adele’s husband had written “I love you” hundreds of times on little pieces of paper, and at the end of one of her performances, they fluttered down like confetti. They’re divorced. Travis Scott filled Kylie Jenner’s house with so many roses I’m surprised she could walk around. He went to the club less than a week after their baby was born, and she couldn’t stop crying. We’re taught that grand gestures of love are desirable. Perhaps they are to some people. For others, it’s the little things. I would argue that consistently showing signs of affection and kindness is far preferable to making huge declarations and then failing to follow them up. So what can we do to make our partners feel loved and our relationships stronger? The Daily Star compiled a list of suggestions, so let’s take a look.

Thought one: keep in touch

I don’t work with my partner, and so we’re apart most days. So we check in and chat and touch base. I text a joke; he asks how my meeting went. He asks what I’d like for dinner; I send a picture of the cat. On the weekends, we hang out together, mostly, but if I spend time with friends, I like to get the odd message from him. Ask your partner how much of this they like, because sometimes we do have to focus on our jobs or not be distracted by our phones.

Thought two: take an interest

Most couples have some common hobbies. You might meet because you attend the same pottery class or go to the gym together. However, there are going to be things about your partner that utterly befuddle you. I don’t care about rugby; he doesn’t like the same music as me, for example. I’ll still listen to him talk about his favourite team, and when I come home late, he’ll leave a nice snack out for me. Everyday life is full of opportunities for small gestures… and who knows, maybe all of this rugby knowledge will be useful at some point.

Thought three: showing affection

Love languages are fascinating because you might not have the same one as your significant other. You might make your partner coffee or bring home doughnuts as small gestures of love, and they might prefer to compliment you. Dabble in other expressions, though, as a small gesture to mix things up for your partner. Try holding hands or offer more physical touch and be affectionate. The result might be that, unexpectedly, you both enjoy it. Keep things fresh and fun, and your relationship will benefit.

Thought four: compliments and terms of endearment

When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you get used to having that person around. Couples often fall into a routine, and don’t show appreciation as much as they did at the start of their relationships. Change that! Notice the little things, like how they’ve cut their hair or a nice shirt they’re wearing or how great they are with that annoying relative at a family function. Go through old messages and find a nickname you used to use all the time and bring it back. My partner’s name can’t easily be shortened, so I affectionately make reference to inside jokes or just go with “sweetheart” and “my love”, for example. I think he likes it.

Thought five: apologise like you mean it

Lots of therapists will tell you that the biggest problem in many romantic relationships is the inability to say sorry. Look: we all fuck up. That’s fine, it’s what people do, it’s not a big deal. It’s how we bring ourselves back from this which shows the strength of our bond. I find that there’s a lot of information about the “correct” way to apologise, and sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming. So: show contrition; admit responsibility; and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Throw in an extra “I love you”, it won’t hurt. This can help to improve your emotional connection and ensure mutual respect.

Thought six: learn to listen

Earlier on, I spoke about the importance of physical affection and compliments. I think they’re lovely, but not everyone will feel that way. If your partner finds that uncomfortable, pay attention and don’t do it again. Listen to what they say and get to know them as a person, not a projection. The more you pay attention to the little things, the easier it will be to avoid making mistakes. Your partner contains multitudes, and wouldn’t you like to know more about them? Ask questions! Remember answers! Apply your knowledge! It can make a huge difference in how they see you and how you relate to each other. This is true even outside romantic relationships: listening and being considerate is always a good idea.

Thought seven: be grateful

Relationships are fun, and they’re also a lot of work. There’s the emotional labour and the household chores and the planning and, if you have children, I hear they need a certain amount of attention. So thank your partner for everything they contribute to making your joint lives happier. Take a little time and show some gratitude. Thanking someone is free and easy, as is acknowledging all the good things your partner does. The next step is making sure you’re doing your part, too, so everyone is supported. This is both necessary as human decency, and a good way to avoid resentment. You get to spend your time with someone you love, so make sure they know how much you appreciate them.


Couples do lots of things to show love. Grand gestures are fun, but day to day, it’s the small things which make you feel happy. Building an emotional connection through consistently spending quality time together or speaking your partner’s love language is one of many small ways you can strengthen your romantic connection daily and improve long-term relationships. So, if you do one thing today, try a small act of kindness and be a good partner.
Rachel Hall, M.A., completed her education in English at the University of Pennsylvania and received her master’s degree in family therapy from Northern Washington University. She has been actively involved in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, OCD, and coping with life changes and traumatic events for both families and individual clients for over a decade. Her areas of expertise include narrative therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and therapy for traumatic cases. In addition, Rachel conducts workshops focusing on the psychology of positive thinking and coping skills for both parents and teens. She has also authored numerous articles on the topics of mental health, stress, family dynamics and parenting.

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