This morning I sliced up a mango. I love slicing mangoes. I love the smell of it. I love how the juice gets on my hands. I love slicing the fruit into little chunks and placing it in a bowl…and giving it to my wife Lindsey. It makes her so happy to be handed a bowl full of mango. Then she gives me a kiss. And that makes me happy. When we take time to notice these little things, we are a happy couple.
After we had breakfast, Lindsey took the kids to school. I went to the photocopy shop to print out some flyers for an upcoming retreat here in Bali. She sent me a text message thanking me for getting the flyers printed. I smiled as I read it. It’s good to be part of a happy couple.
The Little Things that Make a Happy Couple
When you are in a relationship, you have a lot of opportunities for small acts of kindness. Chances are, you do lots of little things for your partner. You help pick up after him or her. You do small favors. You listen to them when you are tired and stressed. You make dinner when you are short on time. You do innumerable small things for your partner because you it makes life happier to make these efforts.
Do you notice the small things that your partner does for you?
John Gottman, a leading expert in marriage relationships, in his book Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, says that people in unhappy relationships are 50% less likely to notice the small loving acts that their partners do for them.
Think about that for a moment. People who are in unhappy relationships don’t notice how much their partners do for them. It isn’t that the acts of love don’t exist in an unhappy relationship–they just aren’t noticed.
If you are in a happy relationship, you are more likely to notice the little things that your partner does for you.
The more you start noticing the acts of kindness and love that exist in your relationship, the happier you will be.
Begin to Notice the Little Things
Happy couples are good at noticing the small acts of kindness within their relationship. You probably already do this. And chances are, if you’re like me, it is possible to notice this even more and to express even more gratitude.
It seems that couples that practice mindfulness would be better equipped to notice the little acts of love within the relationship. Partners who are present are aware of what is being done for them and can express this in the moment that it happens. This is what makes a happy couple.
Mindfulness Can Lead to Happiness
Mindful couples can be happy couples. The more you are aware, the more gratitude you can express.
Practice this with your partner: Set your intention together to notice the small acts of love that happen during the day. Don’t use it as an opportunity for complaints (“You didn’t notice that I hung up your towel!”), but use it as an opportunity to do more for each other and notice more from each other. Take time at the end of the day to talk about what you noticed and how it felt.