Was it Hallmark that pegged the phrase “..it’s the little things” ?
I often write that the smallest change can bring noticeable and lasting differences in our lives. As you can imagine this is just as true in relationships. The good news is that one person making the small change is often enough to get things going.
Dr. John Gottman, considered one of the one top researchers in the field of building satisfying relationships, has observed thousands of couples. He had found the most satisfied and happy couples have several common rituals. These rituals consist of small actions that are part of the couples DNA. More importantly, he finds that couples adopting these same rituals often improved the quality of their relationship. Even couples who are feeling hopeless and discouraged find that by making this change despite the absence of warm feelings, began to feeling more connected to their partners. The action has a rippling effect bringing changes in feelings, perceptions thoughts, body chemistry, which brings on more changes. One of these rituals is simply how couples interact when they come together or when they go apart. That may be going off to work in the morning, and returning home, or answering the door, and saying goodbye at the end of a date.
Consider your current routine of parting and returning to your partner. Now, consider the times when you feel our have felt closest to a partner. What does your greeting look like when you are feeling the closest, and what does your send off look like when you are feeling the most connected? What do you say? What do you do?
According to Gottman, successful couples have intentional partings and coming together. They do it intentionally, feelings and circumstances do not influence whether they do it or not; they just do it.
The Ritual is simple at minimum: on each coming together there a face to face smile, and a 6 second kiss or hug
On departure say, “I love you”
Remember only one partner needs to initiate this to notice a change. Try it as an experiment and begin noticing the difference.