I wrote this many years ago when I was practicing as a therapist. The truth is, these small actions are as important and practical as they were then. AND when your heart is at peace and you are loving in your interactions, not just with your partner but with people in general, you find that your business prospers, too.
1. Use eye contact when you talk.
2. Pay attention to what is important to your lover. (You may love for someone to hover when you are sick; he/she may not.)
3. Expense is not what is important in gift giving; it’s the thought. (A rose can have as much impact as a car, presented with the right attitude.)
4. Talk about your lover positively even when he/she is not present.
5. Affirm your lover at every opportunity.
6. Give him/her space to watch the game without whining that he is not paying attention to you; and use that time to do something for you!
7. Honor time with the “girls” and time with the “boys”. Friends are important.
8. Encourage hobbies. It makes life more interesting.
9. Plan time together, even when you are both really busy. (Breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner, movie.)
10. Rather than nagging, decide if what you are requesting is that important to you. If it is, discuss it face to face and tell why it is important to you.
11. When you are in the wrong, apologize.
12. Spend designated times talking about why you fell in love.
13. Write an occasional love note and leave it on the coffee pot, or wherever your lover will see it.
14. Remember important dates.
15. Tell your kids how special their mommy or daddy is and why. (Or tell your grandkids how special their grandma or grandpa is.)
16. Little affectionate touches throughout the day go a long way. (Not sexual, just tender.)
17. Make a point of saying yes whenever you can. That way, when you feel like you must say no, it is respected and doesn’t cause offense. (This is not just for sex, but for anything.)
18. Plan an adventure together: a vacation, a day trip, something out of the ordinary to keep things fun and interesting.
19. Take turns reading to each other.
20. Be flexible.
21. Practice seeing your lover through God’s eyes, who thinks each of us is precious and special.
22. Pick your battles, and just breathe.
23. Speak in “I” statements when you want to make a point. “I feel______when _______.”
24. Ask for what you want or need. Even though you know each other well, mind reading is still a very rare gift.
25. Smile often.
26. Limit complaining.
27. Stop blaming.
28. Take responsibility for your own feelings and your own circumstances.
29. Notice and recognize positive changes: the haircut, the new dress, the new tie, the new muscles, the kind word, the helping out.
30. Forgive quickly. It’s even more beneficial to you than the one who offended.
31. Never assume anything. Ask; clarify.
32. Treat each conversation like it’s your last. What would you like your lover to hear if they were your last words?
33. Find something you enjoy doing together: play cards, go to movies, take walks, play games, attend sporting events, watch the games on TV, cook, build things, read.
34. Nurture friendships with other couples or individuals that you both enjoy.
35. Maintain your own health by eating well and staying fit.
36. Maintain a strong body and a strong mind, so that you feel good about yourself.
37. Have fun. Enjoy your life.
38. Be grateful for each other.
39. Be generous with each other.
40. Resist comparing yourselves to each other or others.
41. Celebrate each other’s victories.
42. Don’t feel like you have to fix each other’s problems; just be there to listen and support.
43. Never betray a confidence (unless it is life threatening.)
44. Give gifts that your lover wants, not just things you want him/her to have.
45. Put yourself in the other’s shoes before you get angry.
46. Do not obsess about something he or she says or does, ask for clarification and leave it at that.
47. Look at every interaction as a new start. Avoid “always” and “never” in your conversations.
48. Rather than avoiding confrontation, realize that a well-orchestrated, thoughtful confrontation can enhance intimacy.
49. If you think you might have misunderstood, ask for clarification.
50. Kiss your lover before you walk out the door.
Action step: Pick any one of the above and try it.