Happiness in a relationship is about taking care of the little things. It’s about being attentive to your partner’s needs.
This week I had two separate conversations with friends who are each going through some major health issues. One friend is older and has been married for a long time. The other friend is a new bride, just starting to build her life with her young husband. Both women have reached out to their husbands to ask for some attention, a little TLC, and both women feel that they have been let down.
The young bride joked about it and said, “Oh that’s just how he is.” I cringed when I heard her make his excuses. I wanted to tell her not to accept his neglectful and inconsiderate ways and to expect more for herself and from her husband. All she had asked for was a bowl of soup. A bowl of soup! She had just come from the emergency room and was recovering from surgery and this dude couldn’t make her a bowl of soup? Are you kidding me? I wanted to cuff this young pup on the back of the head and tell him to smarten up and take care of his beautiful bride. I didn’t do that, instead I kept my opinions, and my hands, to myself.
My older friend also feels let down as she deals with her own health issues. All she asked of her husband was to say, “I don’t get it, but I will love and support you through this anyway.” She wasn’t expecting him to understand what she is going through. She wasn’t asking him to do anything or to make any grand gesture of support. She just wanted a hug. Instead he stared at her like a deer caught in headlights and then bolted from the room as soon as he got a chance. She was frustrated because she has had many conversations with him over the years about how to be supportive. She has given him the words to say, but he just won’t say them.
All relationships have issues to work on. I understand that. I just don’t want this to be an issue in my relationship. For me, it’s a no brainer. If the person you love is sick, you take care of them. You make them a bowl of soup and you give them a hug. In my opinion, you should do those things willingly. It’s those kind of little gestures that make a person feel loved and cared for when s/he needs it the most.
In fact, we should feel loved and cared for even on our healthy days. Why shouldn’t every day come with a little bit of positive attention from your partner? Little touches, hugs, compliments and smiles of support and encouragement are not a lot to ask for and should be given freely and often. Compliment him on his blue eyes, tell her that her hair looks nice, give each other a sweet smile when you first open your eyes in the morning. Say, “Good morning beautiful. Good morning handsome.”
Be attentive. Say nice things and say them often. Remind your partner how valuable they are to you with small daily kindnesses and loving words. Why wouldn’t you?