Some years ago, a couple I was friendly with, split up in acrimonious circumstances. They both came to me separately & each told me their side of the story. To my surprise, as I listened to the second account, I slowly realised that their complaints about each other were almost identical!
The husband’s main complaint about his wife was that she spent all her spare time on the computer & would not look up from it to talk to him. His wife’s main complaint about him was that he spent all his spare time watching television & would not look up from it, even to say “Hi” & ask how she was after her day at work.
This is a traditional rhyme that reminds me of possibly the most important truth about relationships:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
That truth is this: that little daily things matter & some of those little things are crucial to the extent of being all important. Probably the most important of those “little things” is giving our partner the gift of our full attention. We under-estimate the importance of this at at our peril! The best research in this area has shown that it is the little things in a relationship that mount up over time & either destroy it – by undermining its foundations or turn it into a rock solid, close & life long friendship.
Other little things that can make a difference:
1) Notice what your partner does right! It is all too easy to fall into the trap of only noticing what they do wrong!
2)Comment on the things that they do right. Make a habit of finding things to praise.
3)Show affection- when ever you can ( if you have got out of the habit, make the effort to get back into the habit again). If you want the relationship to thrive- you know it makes sense – and everything – even this – gets easier with practise!