One Little Thing that Can Bring About Big Change in Relationships

little things matter

Was it Hallmark that pegged the phrase “’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.  six second

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”


aj naismy engaged 10


six seconds on meeting and parting for a succesful  marriage

Remember only one partner needs to initiate this to notice a change.  Try it as an experiment and begin noticing the difference.






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Ramona Taylor, M.A. LMFT a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT97652)


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embrace 1Many people are surprised to find that they begin to notice positive changes from the moment they make their appointment. As a Marriage & Family Therapist registered intern, I pull from a wide range of treatment modalities to create a treatment plan that will benefit each individual client. As former teacher I carry with me the desire to teach myself out of a job. So, along with effective individualized treatment, I make it my goal to teach clients to use what they learn in session, where it counts: in their everyday lives.   I see couples, families, children, young adults and teens. I have varied hours of availability, including late afternoons, early mornings at The Inland Integrated Wellness Center. Our office is located in the historic district of Corona about 1 mile South of the 91FWY :
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