Are you a guy who says, “I Love you” by doing small favors for your darling without her having to ask? That’s a good thing. You are on the right track. It’s the little surprises that you do that serves up a reminder that cause her to feel deeply appreciated and loved.
Harry Reis, PhD, professor of psychology at University of Rochester, studied 175 recently wed couples. He found that grand romantic gestures and declarations of everlasting love are not the secrets to marital bliss – it’s the couples who regularly do small tasks for one another who are most likely to be happy.
For married people, these small but frequent gestures serve as ongoing confirmation that our partners still care. “We never really know what’s going on in another person’s mind,” explains Reis. “These gestures show that our partner is thinking of our needs.”
One somewhat surprising finding of Dr. Reis’s not-yet-published research – while women usually are credited with being the relationship experts, it turns out that husbands tend to do these small gestures more often than wives. That might be because while women tend to be very comfortable saying, “I love you,” many men are more comfortable doing small things to show their love.
When it comes to selecting appropriate gestures, Reis says that what matters is that we do things that our partners truly appreciate.
Here are a few ideas that men can do for their partner that will demonstrate appreciation and Love:
• Handle one of our many chores, preferably unasked; a chore you may not like to do and know that neither does she. She wants to feel emotionally tended to when you take over some of these responsibilities, mundane and otherwise.
• Stand up for her when should the situation arise.
• Fill her car with gas, check the tires, oil, etc.
• Practice good grooming. Dress well. Smell nice.
• Send her an unexpected “love” greeting card for no special reason except that you love her!
• Surprise her with something she mentioned in passing. This is especially a great gift for her to receive because you have to be a good listener for this one. Pay attention to her sizes; make a note and carry it with you.
• Be sure to call her when you discover that you might be late.
• Buy you tampons without feeling emasculated.
• Clean up your own messes; avoid porcelain splash in the bathroom; put your own clothes away, shoes under the bed, etc.
• Do all you can to cause her to feel appreciated. Frequently let her know that you appreciate all she does.
• LISTEN to her! Really hear what she is saying. Off goes the TV, radio, put down you smart phone and with eye-contact… genuinely listen! Don’t be a Mr. Fix-it. When she’s had a bad day, just listen. “I understand how you must feel,” etc. If she needs your help she will ask for it, or you could say, “Is there anything I can do to help?”
• Ask yourself, “How much time do I spend with my wife or partner?” Uninterrupted time means time together must be spent without iPhones and Blackberrys — a conversation about anything except work, money or the children. Gifts are nice but material goods do not and cannot compensate for her not being with you.
• Surprise her with a very special “date night!” Spend a minimum of two hours alone. Focus on having FUN together!
• Be reliable. When you say you will do something… do it. And, the sooner the better. Larry’s NOTE: We guys often want to do things at our own speed. That is one of the quickest ways to cause your partner to feel unappreciated.
• Take the time to inquire about the important aspects of her life. Ask questions.
• Pay attention to her! While it may feel like women might expect guys to remember everything, the more you love her by paying closer attention to her, the more you will learn about her likes and dislikes. The next time you offer her strawberry ice cream and she’s told you a dozen times she doesn’t like strawberry you lose a couple of points and she feels “not paid attention to.”
• NEVER comment on her weight except to say how thin and beautiful she looks. Or… say nothing. Larry’s NOTE: Ladies, PLEASE stop asking, “Does this dress make me look fat?” It’s a trick question that is sure to cause disappointment (or worse)!
• Tell her you love her. Often. Women need to hear the actual words.
Consider this a list to help you get started. Guys, make your own list. Or, women… make more suggestions by posting your ideas in the comments section below.
Larry’s NOTE: A special “Thank you!” to Karen Larson, Editor of Bottom Line Personal for the inspiration for this article!
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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