Everyone wants to make their partners' days a little brighter and happier, but when life and everything else gets in the way, this simple relationship goal can fall by the wayside. But, seriously, don't let it.
"You want to brighten your spouse's days because you love them, and showing your love not only makes them feel good, but makes you feel good as well," explains Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From ruining Your Relationship. But how, exactly, do you do it? Here are five expert-approved ideas to get you started.
1. Take a chore off his or her plate.
So your spouse hates to do the dishes. It's time to tackle that pile yourself. "Whether it’s unloading the dishwasher, walking the dog, making the bed, going to the post office or paying a bill, by simply taking one little chore off their plate will be a way to show you care," says relationship expert April Masini.
2. Give your spouse a compliment.
It's all too easy to point out what your spouse is doing wrong, but pointing out what he or she is doing right is worth the extra effort.
"Be positive and acknowledge the things that you like, such as their appearance or something they did or said that you enjoyed," says Greer. "They will feel attractive and confident, and it will increase their self-esteem."
3. Write a little note that expresses love or lust.
Long gone are the days when we left love notes in our partner's lockers. But Masini says we should bring a little bit of that back to brighten our spouses' days. "Leave a note in their briefcase, by the coffee pot, or in the bathroom by the toothbrush the night before," she says.
"Make the note short and sweet and different each time. Express a unique thought and make it heartfelt. These little gestures will do a lot for your spouse and your relationship."
4. Ask, "How was your day?"
In the hustle and bustle of your evening, this little question can get lost. But Greer says these are four very important little words to say each day. That simple question, she says, "show interest in their activities and reinforce that they're important to you. And when they start to explain, actively listen.
They'll feel cared about, important, and supported. They'll feel like you understand them."
5. Give in now and then.
You don't always have to win. Instead, say, "'OK, let’s go to your mother’s for Thanksgiving.' Or, 'let’s see the movie you want this weekend,'" says Masini. "If you focus on your daily interactions, I bet you can find half a dozen interactions where you don’t give in and push to get your way. Give in on one and do it graciously. Your spouse will feel less steam-rolled and more valued."