We were preparing for a day at the beach, rushing out of the house when I heard Eric say behind me, “Don’t worry, I got your hat too!” Eric knows how much I enjoy having my hat on a beach day, and going back into the house to get his own, he made a point to also grab mine.
It was a simple gesture that may sound really, really small and inconsequential, but I’m convinced that remembering to grab your partner’s hat is one of the essential building blocks of a strong relationship!
That small courtesy spoke deeply to me. Had Eric gifted me with an expensive piece of jewelry in that very moment, it wouldn’t have trumped the gratitude and good feelings I received from that one simple gesture. His actions showed that he cared about me, and pays attention to the little things about me such as my hat preferences.
After we got married, it didn’t take me long to realize that the most important things about our relationship weren’t the occasional romantic get-aways or the fancy dinners and special date nights, but the everyday, little things. For instance, making breakfast for Eric or scratching his itchy back or stealing a kiss when he’s not expecting it are the small things I try to do every day to let Eric know I love him.
One of the little things that Eric does for me is filling my gas tank. It’s a task I don’t enjoy, and so, whenever my husband happens to be driving my car around, he makes a point to fill up the tank. Another thing he does is, hold my hand every night when we first get into bed. It’s really special to end every day with that small gesture of love.
The big things are important, of course—like honesty, fidelity, unified parenting, mutual respect, and handling the finances with wisdom, just to name a few. Each are very important in any relationship, but just because the big things are well in hand, doesn’t mean we can let the small stuff go. Do you remember that old saying, “God is in the details?”
It’s kind of like a car. Having fuel in the vehicle is essential for obvious reasons, and we all know it’s a really big deal when it runs out. The same goes for other big things like the battery and the oil. But have you ever heard of a really small part called a distributor cap? No one ever gives much thought to their car’s distributor cap, but it’s just as important as fuel and oil. This little piece, which is smaller than my fist, sends an electrical current to the spark plugs in the engine, and if this piece starts to function improperly, the cylinders inside the cap will misfire and the car’s ignition will fail. The car isn’t going anywhere with a malfunctioning distributor cap!
A relationship that ignores the small stuff isn’t going to go anywhere either. Kindness and thoughtfulness must be part of the daily routine. Kind words and actions must be habits and not just afterthoughts, and it shouldn’t take any of us too long to identify those little words and actions which are most meaningful to our spouse.
We generally want the vehicle’s engine to start every time we turn the key, and not just once in a while. In the same way, my husband and I want our relationship to function well every day too!
What are some everyday ways you and your spouse show your love for each other?