Life is full of big things: family, work, church, school, car repairs, home repairs, bills, etc. These things can take all of our attention if we let them, and when that happens we forget about the little things.
You’ve probably heard the priorities lesson of rocks in a jar (if not, here’s a quick video). Too often, we fill our lives with the big stuff and neglect to fill cracks between. What the lesson doesn’t teach is that the little stuff is still important. The small steps of nurturing our relationships are extremely meaningful, especially when care is taken in doing them amidst the turmoil of everything else in life.
“Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.” – Lawrence D. Bell
- Compliments – Taking notice of good, positive things and saying it goes a long way.
- Thank yous – If she did something nice, even if it was expected, make sure she knows it’s appreciated (e.g. “Thanks for doing my laundry, babe”)
- Dates – Time together is essential for keeping and growing the bond between husband and wife. Here’s some helpful ideas.
- Love notes -Write down your feelings for your wife. There is a sort of permanence in written words that is comforting. Here’s some guidance.
- Helping around the house – Whether both of you work, or one of you is a stay-at-home parent, support each other. The gender roles of your grandparents have changed: men now do housework. Here are some other ideas in this realm.
- Flowers – Pick flowers on the roadside, or buy them in a store (Costco has great prices).
- Random gift – Give her a token of your affection for no reason except you love her. Birthday or other special occasion not required.
- Surprise movie night – Randomly bring home a redbox, or take her out.
- Mix tapes – Or CDs, she’ll think of you every time it plays.
Notice that these are all plural, suggesting that this is an ongoing practice, not a one time event.
Find what works for your unique situation. It doesn’t matter what other people think of how you nurture your relationship (including family). The only opinion that counts is your spouse’s. If she feels loved and cared for by what you’re doing for her. Others can… well you know…
“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions — the little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimal of pleasurable and genial feeling.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Here’s the practical advice:
- Take time – It doesn’t take much, but it does take some time to do these things. Since time is of great value, give some of it to her. You’ll get a high return on your investment.
- Show affection – Don’t go all John Wayne, be a man who is strong enough to be everything she needs. Show her how much she means to you, don’t wait until its too late.
- Go out of your way – Even if it’s inconvenient, you ought to be putting in the effort for the person who is your everything.
Above all else: Love Your Wife