In relationships, sometimes it’s the little things that matter most! Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Gil and Brenda Stuart for our Thriving at Home Summit. This amazing couple affirmed one of our community’s favorite sayings.
In relationships, the little things are big things!
Here are a few ways to take that wisdom and put it into action.
It’s The Little things—So Slow Down.
Thriving couples are conscious about slowing down. So, don’t be hard on yourself. You don’t have to fix everything right now. Slowing down means pausing to:
- Hold hands
- Bing-watch the latest Netflix series
- And enjoy one another’s presence
The happiest of couples do this even in the middle of disagreements and disputes. Slowing things down means putting a pause on tensions to reconnect. This is important because the little things still matter even when the big things are not 100 percent figured out.
Don’t Let “Those People” Put An End To The Little Things
“Those people,” (aka the kids), can be cute. I love our brood of girls. But they can also be trouble. Lately, one of “those people” has been sneaking candy, marshmallows, and any other sweet treats. After shoving as much as she can into her mouth, she hides what’s left under her covers—which often isn’t very much. When asked why these sugary treats are in her bed, our little one always gives the same answer.”It was either daddy or the cat.” Fortunately, there are two major flaws in our kiddo’s plan. First, neither daddy nor the cat is especially fond of marshmallows.
Second, Jenny and I both know that:
“Those people,” may try to divide and conquer mom and dad in order to get their own way. When “those people” get sneaky, pump the breaks, slow things down, and get unified.
Positive parenting as a team is incredibly important. Not only is it good for the kids, but it also keeps the couple’s relationship strong. This was another one of our takeaways from our amazing interview with Gil and Brenda!
Don’t Let Pint Elephant Issues End The Little Things
You’ve probably heard people talk about “the elephant in the room.” Well, some couples have a giant pink elephant. Other couples have an elephant so loud and big it might as well be doing cartwheels.
In our home, Jenny and I talk about having pink elephant conversations as often as needed. At work, Jenny uses pink elephant keychains as a reminder not to allow unaddressed issues to stink up the workplace. You may or may not use the term “pink elephant.” What matters is that problems are addressed and not left to fester. Ongoing issues get in the way of the little things that matter most.
We know the pink elephant is there. Don’t let it keep stinking up the house. Stating the obvious is an act of bravery, and acknowledging the pink elephant is the beginning of dealing with it.
Instead, have that pink elephant conversation with your loved one. Then, get back to being happily connected.
For some couples, talk about money, budgeting, and finances is their big pink elephant issue. If money issues are one of the little things leading to big fights in your relationship, then you may want to check out these strategies for having money conversations without starting a fight.
Other pink elephant issues include conversations about extended family members, the holidays, and different ways of doing things at home. Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable for couples to have differences of opinion—as long as they don’t lead to lingering resentment and get in the way of the little things that being the two of you together.
Show Yourself Grace
Grace is in the small acts of kindness toward ourselves and toward the ones we love the most. Our spouse needs grace. Our kids need grace. And we need grace too! One way to show grace to ourselves and to our spouse is to remind ourselves that difficulties are an opportunity to grow.
Jenny and I show ourselves grace while waiting for the school plan for this coming year to be revealed. It’s easy to stress… worry… and try to plan. But planning is nearly impossible when no one knows what’s going on. So instead, we are growing in patience. We are extending grace to ourselves and each other.
What’s your opportunity to show grace this week? Showing grace to ourself and our loved one allows us to get back to those little things that matter so much!
Keeping The Little Things Going
According to relationship expert John Gottman, 5/1 is the magic formula for relationship success. Happy, stable couples have five positive interactions for every negative one. The idea that the little things are the big things is more than just a snazzy Twitter post. It’s true, and the research backs it up. Small acts of kindness, love, and joy matter—especially in our closet relationships.
If you’d like to dive deeper into keeping the little things going in your relationship, you might want to dive deeper with tiny connection habits coaching. This is a quick, easy, text-based way to work on building a regular connection routine. You can also book a free coaching discovery call and connect with me, personally. Our goal will be to explore ways to get fast connection wins at home!
Finally, I’d love to hear more from you! How do you slow down and keep the little things alive and well in your bond? I look forward to continuing the conversation in the comments below!