In the context of a relationship, thoughtfulness is the key to bridging the ‘We’re Committed’ and ‘Smells Like New’ feelings.
After the initial “chase” part of your relationship is over, things tend to lull. It’s not that couples lose interest in each other, we just tend to get a little lazy.
A lot of people are tricked into believing the hard part is over – you found someone, you dated, you both took it seriously, and committed to the “R” word. Truth is, once you’re in the relationship the hard part is just beginning. In a relationship couples often lose the spontaneous instinct. People stop “tying so hard” to impress because they are officially secure in their “R” word, and shouldn’t have to put in as much effort, right?
To maintain that slice of spontaneity, that sliver of validation, the dollop of interest, and dash of affection…
You need to be thoughtful. Like JFK said, “Ask not what your partner can do for you, but what you can do for your partner…” errr, I think that’s it. It’s amazing how far a little thoughtfulness can go.
Thoughtfulness shows that you’re thinking about someone, and you care enough to act on it. In the context of a relationship, thoughtfulness is the key to bridging the ‘We’re Committed’ and ‘Smells Like New’ feelings. People struggle with thoughtfulness in their relationship because we also struggle with creativity. Couples can have a hard time thinking outside the box.
First thing’s first: timing is important. Couples tend to only do “random acts of kindness” in their relationship after a fight. That’s hardly random at all. When was the last time you did something special for your partner just because you could?
If you have a hard time seeing past anniversaries and fights for thoughtful opportunities, here are some suggestions:
#1 Leave A Note
Write a one-sentence note saying you love your partner, or what they mean to you, or how happy they make you – whatever tickles your fancy. Leave the note by the coffee pot, in their purse or wallet, a jacket pocket, or taped to the refrigerator. A sticky note and a little bit of ink can say more than you know.
#2 Make A Coupon
Homemade coupons are free to make and unique to your relationship. It could be a coupon for their favorite dinner, a raunchy sex night, a girls/guys night out, a night without the kids, or offer to give your partner their own alone time. Can say something like, “Redeem this coupon for one ________. No purchase necessary. Valid through ____.” Get creative.
#3 A Surprise Gift
Out of the blue gifts are as incredible as they are rare. Knowing someone took the time to think of a gift and buy it for you…with no holiday, birthday, fight, or anniversary motive usually comes as a complete shock. Who is your boyfriend/girlfriend’s favorite band? When are they coming to town next? Buy them concert tickets and stick them to the bathroom mirror while they’re in the shower. Has your partner mentioned something they wanted in passing? Shoes? A watch? A new book? What’s their favorite drink? Leave their favorite bottle of wine on the counter for when they get home. Think about it.
#4 Embarrass Them At Work
I’m not going to tell you to show up naked wearing only an oversized coat to your partner’s office. (But you totally could, just saying.) Send flowers, an edible fruit arrangement, lunch, whatever, to their office. Not only will they be completely shocked, their co-workers will be jealous. Imagine all the other fights you could start for other couples, “How come YOU never do anything like THAT for ME?!”
#5 Leave Something In Their Car
Maybe they have a thing for smoothies – leave their favorite smoothie in their car for the moment they get off work. Leave a note taped to the steering wheel saying “Meet for drinks at Wherever, right now.” This is also a good place to leave a gift from tip #3 or a coupon from tip #2. It’s an added element of surprise. You went out of your way to get their attention, and that means something.
#6 Don’t Wait
Don’t wait for the special occasion or even the weekend to be thoughtful. Do something for your partner just because it’s Wednesday. Or Monday. Or Thursday.
#7 Neck Rubs
Maybe you don’t have the money to go out to a fancy dinner or buy concert tickets – that’s ok. Neck rubs are free. Have you ever met someone who doesn’t love a good neck/shoulder/back rub? Exactly – your partner loves them just as much as you. Give them a random neck rub without expecting one in return.
A few words of caution about the mentioned suggestions: Showering your partner with gifts does not equal love – it’s about doing something special and random simply because you want to. Leaving notes, making coupons, neck rubs, etc. show that you’re thinking about your partner and you want to express it. Taking the time to write something out (versus text or email), is another step out of the ordinary. Being thoughtful in your relationship can strengthen your partnership. It’s that little bit of reassurance. Just because you are committed and you’re out of the “chase” phase doesn’t mean you have to give up on spontaneous, random, thoughtful acts of kindness and affection.