I met my first (and late) husband when I was a mere 15 years old and he 17. He was my first and only boyfriend, and we married five years later at the tender ages of 20 and 22.
Needless to say, I did not have much experience about how relationships worked. However, what I did have was a solid upbringing with an intact family and an inherent thirst for learning. I was a sponge and, as I watched how couples interacted with each other, I carefully chose the ideas that rang true to me and I incorporated them into my own life. I have lived my entire life by a principle that my then boyfriend made in an offhand comment … and it has served me very well.
When I was 17, while I was visiting and staying at my boyfriend’s house, his older brother by twelve years was also visiting from out of state. As we sat around the breakfast table, his brother read the newspaper. One by one, he mentioned things his wife would like and he proceeded to cut out advertisements for clothing and blurbs about things to do in the city. My boyfriend remarked that he hoped that when we were married for as long as his brother and wife that we would still be acting and thinking like they did.
I took this remark to heart and practiced it every day of our twenty year marriage.
You may ask how did I put this concept into practice and how YOU can implement it in your life. Here are ten suggestions.
1. You’ve both laid down in bed after a long and exhausting day. Your partner says, “I’m thirsty.” Despite your tiredness, you jump up and get him/her something to drink.
2. You paint your partner into the landscape of your life. Consequently, wherever you go, whatever you do, he/she is always with you. For example, when you’re in a bookstore, you notice books your partner might like; you buy a special treat at the grocery store; you smile when you see something you know your partner would like and can’t wait to tell him or her and so on.
3. You do tasks you’d rather not do because you know that it will make your partner’s life easier.
4. You go places your partner likes without resentment because you know he/she wants to share his/her passion with you. (and, of course, your partner does the same for you)
5. You are always on the lookout for things/ideas that you know will delight your partner.
6. If your partner is tired and taking a nap, you will make sure the house remains quiet by turning off the phone (or at least quieting the ringer) and keeping kids occupied and quiet.
7. You offer to do a task that a mate usually does but is one he/she would rather not. For example, generally men do the driving when out as a couple. You might chauffeur your mate around and let him feel like a prince.
8. Get up early and prepare a breakfast in bed treat.
9. Take the kids out and give a mate a day for him or herself.
10. Encourage your partner to pursue activities he/she enjoys, even if they don’t include you. Of course, this should be balanced with family and partner time. However, when a partner goes out into the world and pursues his/her passion, renewed energy, excitement and passion is brought back to the relationship. Think of it as the pause that refreshes!
These are not difficult things to do, but you must do them with a smile while knowing that you are making life easier, less stressful and more enjoyable for your partner. It's the little things like the preceding (that might even go unacknowledged) that add up to an overall feeling of contentedness in a relationship.