There is a kindness movement happening in our society now that’s promoting and encouraging people to complete acts of kindness for others. Often referred to as “Random Acts of Kindness”, due to the targeting of strangers, we see these stories on social media, and even on the news, and a lot of times we’re easily inspired to take action with small and simple, yet effective acts that spread joy and positivity to those around us.
So why do we do it? Because it makes us feel good, right? We get to bring a little joy to someone else’s day, sometimes without them ever finding out who blessed them. And let’s be honest – there is nothing wrong with a little boost to the ego! It’s a good feeling to be walking a little bit taller because we genuinely feel good or proud about our actions.
When it comes to treating our partners with kindness, this can be a completely different story. Somehow, the buzz you get from a random act of kindness doesn’t quite translate to those closest to us. But if you think about it, who better to be kind to then the partner we’ve chosen to share all aspects of our life with?
Research has shown that kindness and generosity are two of the most fundamental things that successful relationships boil down to, and when it comes to kindness towards your partner, we’re talking about something slightly different than paying for someone’s coffee or leaving a “have a great day” note on a windshield (although these are still great ways to show you care!)
Kindness towards your partner includes genuine empathy; using both actions and words to show your partner you care and proving yourself to recognize and consider their feelings. Being nice to your partner – being generous – includes giving your partner your time and energy. Not resentfully, or because you have to, but because you genuinely want to.
As our relationships age and the external pressures of daily life set in, it can be easy to forget what initially brought you and your partner together, and even easier to take each other for granted! Your partner will not always seem novel and new, stealing your heart every time they look in your direction. Relationships take work to maintain. Consciously reminding yourself what you love about your partner, and then communicating that directly to them as well, will help keep the spark alive and well in your relationship.
In this post, we’ve got 8 tips that will help you remind yourself what you love about your partner, show them the kindness and generosity they need and get your relationship back on track TODAY!
- Take stock of what is truly important in your life. If you woke up tomorrow and learned you only had 6 months to live, would it change your perception of your life and your relationship? While it may sound like a harsh or shocking way to check yourself, it will help encourage an attitude of gratitude for your partner and your life together!
- Accept compromise and tolerate persistent differences. Just because a couple is happy, does not mean they see eye-to-eye on every single thing. Just like struggling couples, happy couples can absolutely still experience significant differences in opinion about money, in-laws, household chores, vacations – you name it! The difference? Happy couples learn to live with those differences by compromising. Remember: you can acknowledge differences without agreeing with them!
- Identify and separate your frustrations. Frustrations come from many sources: school, work, kids, past or present-day experiences, etc. Avoid dumping your frustrations on your partner, especially when they belong somewhere else. In the heat of the moment, take a breath and pause to identify and separate the source of your frustrations before lashing out at your partner.
- “Catch” your partner doing something right! Look for pleasing behaviors and compliment your partner when he or she does them. Compliments can truly go a long way in improving a relationship. Not only do they show love and appreciation to your partner, but they can also encourage positive change. Learning to “catch” the positives could be one of your most powerful tools in helping your partner move forward with you.
- Deeply listen to your partner. When an issue is important to your partner, repeat your partner’s words so that he or she knows you are really listening. Keep this up and when your partner is finished, say the three most challenging words in a relationship, “Is there more?” Continue listening until your partner can answer “No” to this question. This is difficult to do at first but can go a long way to strengthening your relationship and showing your partner your genuine support.
- Provide support first, solutions are secondary. Feeling attached is a strong binding force in a relationship. Many partners seek to relieve the frustrations of daily life by sharing them with a partner, and really listening can foster togetherness between the two of you. However, some of us impatient listeners try to shorten the process by offering solutions before our partner is ready to hear them. Listen first. If a solution occurs to you say, “When you are ready, dear, I have a solution that might be helpful to you.” When your partner is ready, she or he is likely to be more open to your idea.
- Carve out “couples time” your partner will enjoy. Our busy lives often fill up with mundane or lackluster tasks. Couples tend to ignore each other when they’re together; again due to the fact it’s easy to take your partner for granted. Sometimes we even find ourselves so distracted in a relationship that you never truly spend quality time with your partner. Put away the phone, turn off the TV, and spend some mindful time with your partner on a regular basis. Whether it’s going for a walk or simply cuddling and talking, make it an activity you both enjoy.
- Surprise your partner with thoughtfulness. Use your knowledge of your partner to please him or her unexpectedly. This could be as simple as doing a household chore so they don’t have to. Two things that will help you get this right? One, allow your partner to discover your thoughtfulness themselves; and two, curb your disappointment if your partner misses your efforts and try something else. Resenting your partner’s reaction (or lack of), or only seeking “credit” for thoughtful acts are surefire ways to ensure your point is missed!And one more as a bonus: Don’t underestimate random acts of kindness when it comes to your partner, either! While you may think grand gestures of love are the key to success, many therapists and counselors agree that the little things add up to a much more impactful, positive impression on your relationship. Bringing your partner a cup of coffee or grabbing their favorite magazine while in line at the grocery store are great ways to let your partner know you’re thinking about them!
Life can be hard and relationships can be complicated, but showing your partner genuine kindness and generosity doesn’t have to be! Use these tips to help get your relationship back on track and create a solid foundation for your relationship’s future, today!
The dedicated experts at Solid Foundations have helped many couples repair, reclaim, and reignite the romance in their relationships! Learn more at solidfoundationstherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!