Often, we waste our time looking for large, impressive demonstrations of love and affection but overlook an essential truth about love and happiness-small things make a big difference.
When I think of how to be happy or build great love, I think of a big tree. This wonderful work of nature can withstand storms and strong winds, but it came from such a small seed. This seed gradually became something great as it made small efforts to grow roots and pierce the earth.
The way to a happy life together also begins as a small seed, and, little by little, it becomes something wonderful. In time, this nourishing love can withstand the worst storms.
Like a seed that grows gradually, we too can gradually create a strong marriage by doing these 8 small yet highly effective and important things.
1. Say "I love you" by saying "Good morning"
How we spend the first few minutes of a morning influences the way we will feel the rest of the day. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Do you choose to smile, look over and say a loving "Good morning"? Or, when your husband or wife comes home from work, do you give a kiss and a hug and ask about his or her day?
These are small gestures that can brighten your lives.
2. Talk about your problems
Call it what you want: arguing or discussing are essential for resolving problems. Often problems are ignored because one person in the relationship is afraid of creating conflict.
It is normal to be upset when something is wrong. However, be careful to distinguish between situations that can actually be problematic-such as forgetting to help clean the house and leaving all the work to the other spouse-and situations that are small and easy to solve-like the bedding out of place or a towel on the floor after a shower.
While the little things can upset us, they should be solved with a simple conversation. The biggest issues deserve greater attention. When talking about a problem, keep the following in mind. When we go to discuss, do we want to be right or to be happy?
3. Sincerely praise and celebrate the good
Everyone knows support during hard times is important, but when something good happens to our significant other, are we able to praise and celebrate with him or her?
Praise should be given generously. Yes, big things like a job promotion should be celebrated, but also praise your husband when he folds his shirts or loads the dishwasher. Research shows praise for good things is just as important as, if not more important than, support when bad things happen.
4. Know how to have fun together
A happy couple is a couple that can have fun together. Howard Markman, PhD and co-director for family studies at the University of Denver, said, "The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high, and significant." A couple is happier if they make it a priority to have fun together. These fun times can be anything from moments at home to trips with your children.
5. Talk about all kinds of things
No matter how insignificant some details seem, sharing our lives with our spouses nurtures connection and intimacy. Details like what you ate for lunch during the workday or what you did during the day are important for each to know. Such information, although it seems small, greatly increases intimacy. Never stop asking your spouse about how the day was.
6. Laugh together
Every time you make the person you love smile, the brain releases hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin. When a couple laughs and remembers funny memories or shares something funny from the day, the two will feel happier and closer.
7. Hug, kiss and hold hands
Wendy Walsh, PhD and author, said studies of happy, long-term couples show how the frequency of kissing is more important for the safety and happiness of the couple than the frequency of sexual intercourse. Physical contact is essential to the couple's intimacy. Walk hand-in-hand, share a morning kiss before you leave, steal a spontaneous passionate kiss or give a simple hug after a long day.
8. Don't have any forbidden topics
Two people who want to be happy cannot allow certain issues to be prohibited from talking about. This includes those subjects neither wants to talk about because they fear those discussions will lead to conflict. Usually these issues are synonymous with unresolved problems, and, as was said above, healthily dealing with problems is important for happiness. Have those necessary conversations.
This article has been translated and adapted from the original, "8 pequenas coisas que casais felizes fazem todos os dias," which was originally published on familias.com.br.