The Art of Being Kind to One Another

At the beginning of a relationship, there is usually moonlight and roses, romantic dinners by candlelight and lots of love and laughter. Doing nice things for each other was so effortless, easy and enjoyable. Fast forward a few years, and the relationship looks nothing like the idyllic utopia it once was. 

Take a moment to think about the really sweet and selfless gestures you both offered up to each other when you were dating and even when you were first married. Do you remember what it was like to think of your partner with a smile instead of a grimace? You thrived on giving him one of your amazing back rubs. He would put little notes in your lunch telling you how much he loved you. You both wanted to do everything in your power to make the other feel loved and wanted. 

What makes those behaviors fall by the wayside after several years in a committed relationship? The truth is that over time, people fall into the bad habit of neglecting the relationship and their partner. This is usually not due to malicious intentions, but they stop doing those thoughtful and kind gestures for each other because of a mistaken belief that they don’t have to work hard for the relationship anymore. 

Some people believe that love will just magically happen and won’t require any effort on their part. In fact, love requires the fine-tuning of basic relationship skills on a daily basis, such as conflict resolution without criticism, listening to your partner with an attempt at understanding their point of view and sharing your feelings with kindness.

Early on, these relationship refining skills are used freely, abundantly and enthusiastically, without resentment. But over time, people stop giving what they once gave so generously and begin to rely more and more on hoping they will get what they want from their partner, usually with increased resentment when their significant other doesn’t measure up or follow through.

Sometimes the simplest of gestures will be more appreciated than anything that money can buy. 

One way to bring kindness back into your relationship is to create a list of loving behaviors or tasks that you could do for one another. These behaviors don’t have to be elaborate and they can cost little or nothing. Sometimes the simplest of gestures will be more appreciated than anything that money can buy. Have a heart-to-heart with your partner and ask him if he would be willing to commit to doing at least one thing on the list each day, and assure him that you will make the commitment as well.

If your significant other is on board and you do decide to commit to this exercise each day, try to be low-key about it and don’t make a big production out of the things you do for each other. It is, however, important to pay attention and show appreciation. By doing this, you are training yourselves to look for the positive things your partner does, instead of focusing on the negative behaviors.

Kind and Caring Behaviors

Warm his bath towel in the dryer while he’s taking a shower. A simple gesture like this can make his whole workday seem brighter. 

Complete a household chore he has been putting off or a task that he hates to do. If his toolshed or car needs a good cleaning, get out the rubber gloves. If he’s been meaning to take those donations to Goodwill but just hasn’t gotten around to it yet, load them in your car and take them to the donation center for him. If he normally does the yardwork, hire a young teen from your neighborhood who could use a little extra pocket money to do the work for him once a month.

Treat him to one of your famous back rubs. Bring back fond memories of when you were first dating and give him a relaxing back rub with massage oil, candlelight and soft music. 

Create a special place that is just for him. Most everyone enjoys spending quality time on hobbies they are passionate about. If he enjoys putting together model airplanes and cars, or if he likes to paint on canvas, find a space in your home where he can allow his creativity to flow. 

Spontaneous displays of affection can do wonders for your relationship. 

Give him some spontaneous affection. Surprise him with a kiss or a hug. Instead of the same old platonic and boring kiss on the cheek you normally give him, kiss him on the back of his neck, on his forehead or give him a passionate kiss on the lips. 

Take a walk together. Taking time out of your day to just walk and talk with each other can really help you connect on a deeper level. 

Tuck your partner into bed at night. If he has to get up earlier than you for work and you’re not tired when he goes to bed, go to the bedroom with him and tuck him into bed. Lay out his pajamas for him, fluff up his pillow, smooth his hair and give him a goodnight kiss.

No matter what you include on your lists, it truly is the kindness behind the gesture that counts. Devloping the habit of showing kindness to your partner on a daily basis and making a concentrated effort to bring these loving behaviors into your everyday lives will make a big difference in the way you view each other and your relationship. WGW

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