Yesterday, I wrote on how small choices can impact long-term goals. Today, I want to share 4 simple daily actions I have been practicing. These small actions not only make a big difference in relationships but it also sets the mood for the day. Dr. Currie’s article addresses marriages but these simple actions can work in other relationships.
Making the Moments Matter Each Day by Dr. Dave Currie
“Have you ever heard it said, ‘Little things go a long way’?
It’s true. What is said and done in even a few seconds can radically change your life. Moments matter even more in a marriage. Words can kill or words can bring life – all in a flash. The choices you make in a moment can draw you closer to your mate or create distance. A few words can proclaim a welcome or drive in a wedge. It’s up to you.
Every day there are reoccurring events that we all could capitalize on. These are moments that will really matter with your mate. The better you handle these times, the stronger your connection. The more you make of these minutes, the deeper your friendship will be. This is how love grows.
Let’s look at four times every day when there’s a great chance to connect with your spouse. Used well, they will set the tone for the day and be at the heart of creating a satisfying and lasting marriage. These four moments are: Good Morning, Goodbye, Hello and Good Night. They are the first and last moments of the daily interchange in your lives. And yet they are consistent opportunities that most of us miss.
Maximize the ‘Good Morning’ moment
At the first sign of life, you can set the tone for the day. If your mate is awake, pull him or her close. Say nothing at first; just be in each other’s arms. Think through your first words. Be intentional with your commitment to love.
Even if your mate is still sleeping, let your first gestures be acts of kindness. Leave tracks of love: Turn on the coffee, or put toothpaste on your spouse’s toothbrush. Try leaving short notes on the counter, dresser or mirror.
Also, work hard to start the day without negative, critical words. Remember that each day is a fresh start to love better.
What if your spouse is still sleeping when you leave? Is it more loving to kiss your spouse goodbye and risk waking him or her or to leave quietly and not disturb your spouse’s sleep? The answer is to let your spouse make this call. Ask.
Maintain a ‘Goodbye’ routine
At some point each day, you will go your separate ways. Your spouse’s departure needs to take precedence over other things, at least for a few minutes. No matter who is heading out first, establish a goodbye routine. Since my sweetheart is vertically challenged, we meet at the steps by the front door so our farewell kiss and hug will be face-to-face.
Whether you ask questions about the day or offer a word of encouragement, use the moment to wrap your love around the heart of your mate. This closeness will provide strength for the day and an anchor that will draw your spouse back to you.
Tell the kids what you are doing: “I’ll be right back. I want to say goodbye to your father.” It’s great modelling.
Try a 10-second hug – actually count in your head if necessary. Linger for a bit, let your arms say, “I am here for you.”
Research shows that kissing your mate goodbye as you leave causes you to live on average five years longer and have a higher standard of living. So, stop what you are doing, embrace, kiss, and make your last words good words.
Magnify the reunion ‘Hello’
At some point, you will reconnect again. At this time, both of you should think, “My spouse is my priority.” It is just as much the responsibility of the one coming in the door as it is the one already inside. Both need to lay down the issues of the day for the reunion. Welcome each other warmly. Be as upbeat as possible for these first few minutes. Your actions are saying, “It’s good to see you. I missed you.”
You need to discuss the hurdles of the day – but this is not the time. Debrief your days your way … and remember to show interest in your spouse’s day. But share these events in bit-sized chunks during your evening.
My babe has started to hurry to the door when I announce, “I’m home,” and the smiles, the teasing and the laughter begin. We hug and kiss like we are meeting at the airport.
One friend said, “I don’t want the dogs to be happier to see him than I am.” Without fail, she stops what she is doing to run and embrace and kiss her man. He says that coming home is the best part of his day. No kidding.
Master the ‘Good Night’ finale
It’s time to turn out the lights for the day. Make this moment count too. Try to go to bed together as part of your attempt to stay connected. Even if one of you is a night owl, aim at going to bed at the same time at least five nights of the week. If one feels the need to go to bed earlier, that spouse should initiate the closure of the day. If one wants to stay up beyond the usual time, that spouse should stop what he or she is doing to say good night and connect appropriately.
Donalyn and I have made it a practice to pray together every night. Braiding God into our lives has kept our marriage strong. Our finale always includes saying, “Good night,” saying, “I love you” and a kiss (well, sometimes more too).
You’ll never regret putting your marriage and family first, especially in the moments that matter.”
For more information: www.DoingFamilyRight.com