I was coaching a client this morning by telephone, when his wife walked into his office. She thought he didn’t have time for breakfast, so she brought him a bagel and coffee. I thought that was so sweet of her. It is small acts of kindness like these that are the glue that holds a good marriage together.
An arbitration client told me how great his marriage was, then added, “She packs me a lunch every day.” I could tell from his voice that it meant a lot to him. He feels loved and nurtured. I pack a lunch for my husband most days. Not because he can’t do it himself. He always used to pack his own lunch. He just appreciates it so much that it makes me want to do it.
It warms my heart to hear about couples doing small acts of kindness for one another on a daily basis. Often, I hear this from couples who have been married a long time. I know that is why they are happily married after all these years.
Harville Hendrix, in his now-classic book Getting the Love You Want, encourages couples to engage in more loving behaviors, which in turn makes them feel more loving toward each other. These are seeds that keep love growing. Hendrix counsels to do two or three of these caring acts daily. This has certainly been a great thing for our marriage, and I strongly encourage you to try it.
These caring behaviors can be as simple as saying “I love you.”
Another simple caring gesture is to express gratitude. “I really appreciate the dinner you cooked,” or, “Thanks for doing the dishes.”
How about kissing your spouse when he doesn’t expect it? Send him a text telling him how much you love him or how you can’t wait to spend the weekend together.
Genuine compliments (in contrast to manipulative flattery) are caring gestures. “I love listening to you play the piano.” “Those pants look great on you.” “You have such good taste.”
Then there are the things that take a little more effort. My husband loves when I bake for him, especially his favorite chocolate chip cookies.
Gifts both big and small are great caring gestures, especially when they are for no reason. Everyone loves fresh flowers. Sometimes we buy them for one another, and sometimes I cut a bouquet from my garden and put it in a vase for my husband to take to work. He makes me wildflower bouquets.
Another great caring act is to do one of your spouse’s chores without being asked.
How about massaging his upper back and neck?
You get the idea. Be creative. Show your spouse how much you love him by doing kind things every day, especially things you know he would love. I’m willing to bet it makes you feel more loving towards each other and adds some excitement to your marriage.
If you’d like a more structured approach to nurturing your marriage, I’d love to work with you. Click HERE for a free introductory coaching session to learn how you can take your marriage to the next level.