We all have a lot of things on our daily to-do lists. Even if it’s stuff closely related to our goals in life, we still need to get back to reality and dedicate time to the small things that matter. At the end of the day, they are the things that actually make a difference.
I’m talking about finding the time to improve our relationships, to say something nice to our loved ones, to ask them about their day, and listen to them with a smile on our face. Take the time to remember how you first felt when you fell in love. Remind your partner of these emotions whenever possible.
We all know we should be doing that, but with everything going on throughout the busy day, we come home exhausted and just want some time for ourselves. Unfortunately, if we let things be like that, it soon becomes a habit. We may not notice that right away, but the ones closest to us do. They may even be hurt by the lack of attention.
That’s why you should start doing something small daily to remind them that you’re here and you still care, even though you’re busy.
Here are some little things to do daily to renew your relationships:
1. Practice random acts of kindness to remind people that they are loved.
It may be a small gift every now and then, an unexpected call at work, preparing a meal when they don’t feel well, or doing most of the work at home so that they can relax. For example, I sometimes call my mom on Skype just to have a quick chat with her since we live in different countries. She’s always happy to hear my voice and see my smile. I also send messages to friends whom I have not spoken to in a while, just to see how they are doing.
All these seemingly small things can make someone’s day. The most important thing is that they are random. The other person doesn’t expect them. Furthermore, once it happens, they see you’ve been thinking about them and are doing something special, even though you don’t need to.
In the long-term that can keep a relationship alive, or even renew an existing one.
2. Be a good listener.
We speak too much and listen too little these days. Most of all, we crave to be heard.
To overcome this, sit down every day for 10-20 minutes and pay your whole attention to what the other person has to say. Don’t interrupt. Don’t try to express opinion or talk about yourself, simply listen and try to read between the lines.
You may ask questions to make him feel comfortable, so they can share what’s on their mind. Once they start talking, let go of anything else that distracts you and focus on their words.
For me, this is always during meal times. My wife and I have a rule where we put away our phones when we eat so we can concentrate on each other. It takes no time at all, but can become a powerful ritual of connection and compassion. Accordingly, your relationship will thrive.
3. Don’t judge and criticize loved ones during the short time you spend together daily.
It’s easy to constantly criticize people, expect more from them, and judge everything they do; however, it’s also completely wrong. To make matters worse, someone usually gets hurt in the process.
Instead, accept them for who they are. We’re talking about people you love here, so there are many reasons to appreciate them. You’ve chosen to be a big part of each other’s lives, so remind yourself of the main reasons more often.
Soon you’ll stop judging these people, and will be grateful for having them around instead. They will feel loved and more comfortable being themselves around you. This makes your relationships grow stronger over time.
I have a number of friends who consistently do things which I find incredibly silly or self-destructive. I have long decided to accept them for their faults and just be there to support them when they need it. This has made it a lot easier for me to let go of my frustrations and just enjoy their company instead.
4. Establish traditions and make them a priority.
If you want to make your relationship with someone you love new every day, but are really busy, create a tradition. It means making time for a conversation, or a meal, or to gather with friends in the evening. It could be anything.
Start with once a week, if you can’t make time daily, but stick to it. Make it your top priority. Once you see how beneficial it is to the relationship, you’ll see it’s worth finding time for it each day.
I make sure to bathe my daughter every day. It is our special time in the shower together and she enjoys talking to me. She also enjoys “helping me” wash my hair. Even when I get home late, she will wait for me so she can have that time with me. I really love this precious time together.
5. Be completely honest with the other person.
It’s important to say everything as it is. If you see that things between you are going in the wrong direction, talk about it. Say it directly. Also, share the fact that you don’t make enough time for that person and feel bad about it. This way they will see you still care and are ready to make changes.
If you never talk about it, they may think you haven’t even noticed that things are bad and don’t care. That may mean losing the person without realizing, only because you haven’t been honest and they have moved on without you. Don’t let that happen.
My wife and I have agreed that we will always be truthful with each other, even if it means letting each other know that the other party looks fat in that new pair of jeans. It helps so we don’t go out looking like crap!
No matter how busy you are, make some time daily to renew your relationships. Hopefully, with these tips you can improve your relationships and live an even happier life.
Featured photo credit: Couple d’amoureaux dans une brasserie parisienne / Jean-Marc PAYET on Flickr via flickr.com