Author Sharon Draper once said, “It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.”
With so many grandiose displays of love shown on television and social media, we can often get distracted from the beautiful simplicity in our own relationships. In reality, love doesn’t happen while we’re bidding each other goodbye as the Titanic sinks or in a forbidden romance between rival families (at least, not usually). Instead, it’s built on the mundane, day-to-day gestures that remind you and your partner why you fell in love in the first place.
So when the honeymoon phase ends or when the relationship has dulled after five decades together, how do you relight the spark? The answer isn’t revolutionary. It comes down to a few simple methods you may have forgotten over the years, or maybe even a few you’ve never tried!
Ready to give them a go? Here are eight ways to rekindle your flame and add a little more love to your relationship.
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1. Don’t underestimate “sweet nothings.”
Tiny acts of love are the major pillars that relationships are built on. It may look like scribbling a sweet note on their mirror, creating a playlist of all the songs that are special to your relationship, or simply filling their car with gas. Show them you care by taking one extra thing off their plate or just ask about their day — and listen carefully!
There is no quicker way to make your partner feel loved, seen, and valued.
2. Speak their love language.
Love languages are everything. Make time to learn each other’s. Otherwise, you might be spending all your time buying gifts and writing love notes when all your partner really wants is a clean kitchen or a date night. Find out how they feel most loved so you can throw your energy into flushing it out.
Also, voice how much you love and appreciate them. Consider setting aside one day each week to check in on each other and share what you appreciate about them. Make time to grow in love.
3. Don’t coast — go the extra mile.
Every day presents endless opportunities to go out of your way to demonstrate love. Whether it’s turning the heat on in their car a few minutes before they head out on a chilly morning or picking up their favorite drink when they’re feeling down, take notice of their needs and make their life that much easier.
As Dr. M. Scott Peck says, “Love is an action, an activity.” It doesn’t simply exist, it must be shown!
4. Never stop dating.
Don’t forget the sacred power of a date night. When life is nonstop or finances are tight, date nights can be the first thing to go. But quality time must remain a nonnegotiable.
You and your partner need room to turn off all other distractions and simply catch up, dig in, and be together! Tag team cooking up a new recipe, try a new hobby, revisit a throwback like Putt-Putt, or just ask, “Why don’t we watch [insert their favorite movie here] tonight?”
Make your date nights a major priority!
5. Sprinkle in spontaneity.
Keep life exciting and celebrate the little moments! It could be an unexpected visit at work, a surprise picnic in your backyard, or a random weekend road trip.
It’s the moments that are totally unplanned that end up being the best memories. Little surprises never get old, and they continue to remind you that you don’t just love each other — you also like each other.
6. Tackle conflicts as a team.
Work through the hard moments together, and create a safe atmosphere of vulnerability. In times of conflict, don’t use old issues as fodder in new conversations. Try to leave the past in the past and only work on the situation in front of you.
It’ll be tempting to revisit the same old disagreements, but as Jeff Auerbach, Ph.D., says, “We may not be able to change who we fundamentally are, but we can do the best that’s possible with what we have.” Keep your intentions to grow stronger together, not tear each other down.
7. Encourage each other to dream.
Champion their dreams. Be in their corner, be their loudest cheerleader, and help their dreams come to fruition. Join them in their hobbies, and if they’re nervous to try something new, do it together!
Even if their dreams require sacrifice on your part, before putting up a defense, listen to them and try to figure it out together. Demonstrate your love by showing support first.
8. Actively show kindness.
Finally, prioritize each other. Prove that you value their opinions by asking for their advice, listening, and respecting their thoughts. Above all, be kind to one another.
When you’re tempted to react with a snippy comment, respond with an unexpected measure of gentleness instead. Say sorry, and refrain from choosing words that will hurt the person you love. Don’t build a relationship on unrestrained reactions, but rather on active kindness.
As author Jenny Han wrote, “I can see now that it’s the little things, the small efforts, that keep a relationship going.”
It’s always going to be the small moments that culminate into a lifelong love story. Use these tips to give your relationship a little refresh, and don’t forget to share them with a friend.
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