I am fascinated by what makes a relationship endure over many years and enjoy talking to elderly couples about the secrets of their happiness. It’s often the little things like trust, honesty, laughing together and never taking the other person for granted that seem to matter most.
In romantic relationships a great deal of effort often goes into wooing the other person. But once the relationship has been established, it’s easy for people to take each other for granted. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only day when partners show appreciation for each other. Heart shaped balloons and hastily purchased flowers from the petrol station forecourt simply won’t cut it if the other person feels taken for granted. Thoughtful gestures on an on-going basis are so much more important than grand gestures once or twice a year. One of the most romantic gestures from my fiancé this year has been his commitment to clean out the cat litter tray for me on a daily basis. This to me is so much more romantic than an extravagant, one-off gesture such as two dozen red roses. It is especially appreciated since he is not a natural pet lover and squeamish about pet related mishaps and messes.
If you are in a relationship, I would love to hear what you do on an on-going basis to show your appreciation and affection for your partner. What do you do to keep things fresh and fun, especially after many years together? Here are a few of the things that we try to do:
- When we have dinner each night, we like to create a relaxed, bistro style atmosphere. We put on nice music, light candles and lay place settings at our little table. We always have a small glass of chilled white wine, which to me signals the end of a busy day. Whether we are having a jacket spud with beans or a more elaborate three course dinner, it’s always worth the few extra minutes it takes to turn a meal into an event.
- Small acts of kindness matter, especially in a long-term relationship. Cleaning the other person’s car, buying them their favourite treat or making them a delicious packed lunch, when they have an important day ahead make all the difference.
- Caring for your partner’s family as you would for your own is an important way to strengthen the relationship. Remember their Dad’s birthday; help their elderly Mum with her shopping and provide emotional as well as practical support.