Amy Angelilli and her husband collaborate on a list of (free) things they can do for one another then share their results. Read on and make your partner’s day!
My husband and I have spent a lot of time apart this past summer. We’ve been trying to get back on the same page now that fall is here and I’m off the road. With several “blah days” racked up, I suggested using the research for this story as a way to lay the path for smoother days ahead. As we sat watching the prairie dogs and red skies of Southwestern Colorado, we discussed some simple ways to infuse happiness into each other’s daily living experiences. Our list is surprisingly simple and makes me wonder why we didn’t come up with it until now!
Nothing gets the day off to a rocky start more than a grouch. Being as I’m not a morning person, it’s best for me to deal with myself (alone) before inflicting me on him… or anyone else. Once a positive attitude is in place, it’s safe to engage. Arguments (no matter how ridiculous) are less likely to follow.
Have Breakfast and Coffee Ready (or Have Breakfast Together)
Not all couples (including us) share the same schedule. However, a great goal is to come together in the morning at least once a week. By either assisting your partner in starting the day, or engaging in that start, the day becomes more of a team effort.
Enable “Do Nothing” Time
As queen of the “to do” list, I’m always getting on to the next thing. For my husband, the best thing I can insert into the schedule is regular doses of nothing. It’s even okay if I write it down. It makes it easier to execute as it actually becomes something I can cross off a list!
Gift an Undisturbed Afternoon Nap
People working from home have the luxury of taking regular naps, but it’s only when the significant other (also working from home) gives them this gift. It’s easy and always the right size and doesn’t require wrapping paper! It also works on weekends for those couples who report to an office during the week.
Share a Stroll in Nature
A walk is a seemingly simple activity. It could be a power walk, a dog walk or a walk to also run an errand. The most beneficial kind of walk, however, takes place in nature because it’s an opportunity to recharge. Give your partner a relaxing, recharging walk even if it means sacrificing something on that day’s “to do” list.
Take Over Pet Duties
There is no daily chore more horrible than cat boxes. For me, a 24-hour period without such effort improves the backache, the spirit and the relationship. Voluntarily take on pet duties for a 24-hour period and you’re sure to get a positive response from your partner.
Play the Other Person’s Music
When I walk into the living room and 80s tunes are on I know my partner is setting the tone for a happy, relaxing and fun evening. If you don’t share the same taste in music it’s an even nicer gesture to raid your partner’s music collection. It shows that you’re taking an interest in something that’s special to the other person.
For me, the most important meal is dinner (especially when my husband prepares it, of course). Spending time together over the evening meal gives us an opportunity to review the day’s news together, relax and communicate about upcoming events. It’s like a live news-feed unfolding in real time. The best part, you’re both off the computer!
We have a lot of candles lying around the house. Since they take up so much real estate, it’s best if they’re actually used! More importantly, the difference between a bright light and candlelight is huge. A simple strike of the match can set the tone for a relaxing and romantic evening.
Engage in a Planning Discussion
It could be discussing a trip, a date night or even a home project. Planning together creates a team atmosphere and gets both people moving forward toward the same goal.
While these are seemingly simple tasks to execute, real life always seems to get in the way of good intentions. However, what we do or don’t do (no matter how small the gesture) has great power over our relationships.
We’ve decided to keep this list in plain sight as it gives the items more importance when we see them in black and white. Eventually, once they become habit, we can burn the list with the candle my husband lights after he wakes up from his (undisturbed) afternoon nap![image via Bonbon on flickr]