Ignoring The Little Things Is Why Marriages Die

Ignoring The Little Things Is Why Marriages Die
by Evie Shafner, LMFT

Ignoring The Little Things Is Why Marriages Die
Don't let the daily stress of life keep you from showing your spouse some affection.

When we are in the romantic beginnings of a relationship, when we are enchanted with our partner, when we are hoping and praying they will become our person in the world — so much of our focus is on letting our partner know they are the ongoing object of our affection.

We look at them with love in our eyes, heap words of love and appreciation, send loving texts — you know that phase.

But once we are secure in our relationship, the commitment solidified, we start behaving more like "normal" people. We are grabbed by all the things in life we need to do, focused more on our own issues and the stress of daily life.

This is normal. Once the home base is safe, we can go out and slay dragons. We can't live in that heightened state of intense romance forever. Rather, it becomes something we return to and revisit — moments together, a date, a vacation.

But in our day-to-day life, we may become very unconscious of making sure our partner feels our attention and affection. Neglecting them is why marriages die.

I had a habit of getting out of my car while still on the phone, walking into the house that way, and waving to my husband as I walk through the room. He let me know that that didn't work for him; he felt like an after-thought.

I was so glad he told me and now I make sure I come in and let him know how glad I am to see him. Do I do it always? Not always. Sometimes, I do need to stay on the call and that needs to be OK. But mostly. 

It's so easy to get defensive in those moments. I could have said to my husband "I'm on a work call" or "I'm not doing anything wrong" or "I just couldn't get off at that moment." All those could have been true. But my husband was making a bid for connection and that's what I focused on.

How great is it that I have a partner who wants to connect with me when I come home? So pause before you say anything that sounds defensive. That alone is a practice that brings ongoing good feelings between you.

So, putting some conscious attention on the small gestures on a daily basis becomes the through-line of your relationship. It's like putting money in the bank — all those moments add up to feelings of an abundance of love, fun, and support.

So, create an intention to up the loving gesture quota — a touch as you walk by, a look of love in your eyes, a hug for no reason, buying their favorite frozen yogurt, a gift for no reason — basically, everything you would wish for yourself! Then, the "bank account " of your relationship will be abundant, indeed.
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