Relationships, at their outset, are exhilarating.
They make you feel alive, overflowing with creativity with ways to show love to the other person. You’re constantly thinking about how to put them first and ensure they know how much you care.
But the truth is, that vigor and enthusiasm that stems from mere “newness” just doesn’t last. And that’s not a bad thing. But it is a thing.
The reason the fading of that giddy, no-effort-needed kind of love isn’t a bad thing is because it is replaced with a deeper love. A love that is a little thicker, tougher, a little more gritty. It’s that kind of love that tells the other person, “All of this might take some effort, but you’re worth the effort."
And true loves takes a ton of effort. We all eventually arrive at the day where love becomes a choice. So if you’re there, don’t dismay, friends.
Listed below are four simple reminders of ways to love your spouse/significant other. They are things you’ve probably done before, but maybe have fallen by the wayside. These aren’t ground breaking; in fact, they might be labeled as elementary, as going back to the basics. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with going back to the basics, right?
1. Make a plan
My wife and I have a set date night each week that gives us time to reconnect. One thing I’ve discovered is that she wants me to have a plan for what we’re doing. Any plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive; she just wants to see that I’ve thought about our night together, and that it matters to me.
If I don’t plan anything for us, we’ll likely spend half an hour in the car playing the, “I-don’t-care-where-we-eat-whatever-you-want-is-fine” game. We all know everybody involved loses that game and you end up with a boring date night, devoid of any adventure or romance.
She loves it when we wake up on Saturday morning and I say, “Okay, here’s my plan: we are going to hike Crystal Cove, then come home and clean up, go to dinner at Ecco Pizzeria, then we are going to try out the new comedy club that just opened up.” Every once in a while, she will plan our outings- they are usually much cooler and much more expensive. But that’s neither here nor there.
This weekend, look up the coolest things to do in your city, and ask friends for restaurant recommendations you haven’t tried. See what new venues might have just opened up. Just make a plan!
2. Give a little gift
My wife and I are high school sweethearts (cue the “awww”) and I remember being a teenager, wanting to impress my new girlfriend and make her feel special. One of the things I used to do was leave little notes or gifts on her windshield while she was at cheerleading practice. It was probably something lame like a teddy bear or cheap jewelry (hey, it was high school), but I just wanted to give her something I knew she’d like.
Do the same for your spouse, today! Little gifts demonstrate that you’ve put some proactive thought into showing love, and it can be a nice surprise on an otherwise hum-drum day.
It can be anything they like: their favorite candy bar, some new chapstick when you noticed they've just finished theirs, a new pair of workout shoes, an appointment for a massage, or even a Redbox movie they’ve been wanting to watch.
3. Speak well of them in front of others
One of the things that saddens me most is when I see people speak poorly/put down about their significant other, especially in front of a group of people. Maybe it’s pushed off as a thinly veiled joke. Maybe one person just won’t let the other person be right. Either way, it’s hurtful.
What if, especially in front of others, you made it a goal to praise your significant other and lift them up? What if you traded snark and sarcasm for support and encouragement? What if, when they said something that’s not 100% correct, you decided that the world will somehow survive the minor inaccuracy and you chose to just let it be? What if you became their biggest fan?
This doesn’t have to cross the line into fake compliments or annoying gushiness. Instead, next time you’re around a group of friends, make a point to speak well of them. Talk about how they’ve been successful at work, how they are getting better at their new hobby or how they were so thoughtful to surprise you with a gift (see #2!) last week. Celebrate their wins.
4. Hug them for an extra second
You know what I’m talking about. Give them the kind of hug where you hold on just a little longer, and squeeze just a little tighter than normal. The kind where you wait till they relax into your arms.
After long days at work, filled with stress and annoyances, don’t greet him/her nonchalantly- walk over to them and give them a hug or a kiss that means something.
An intimate and tender physical touch can be a much needed refresher to a tired body. It refreshes the soul, too.
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