“You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
There is an important distinction to be made in relationships between people who pay attention to detail, and people who don't. The first type are people who don't usually go all-out on the big things like extravagant gifts or getaways for special occasions, but they do small things like take care of you while you are sick or go to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy.
People who do pay attention to details, however, are the ones who you can trust to stand by your side and weather the storm. These are the types of people who understand that the small things count the most because those are the things you do for someone simply because you love them, with no special occasion required.
So, then, what are some examples of these smaller romantic acts that, in reality, speak volumes?
1. Write love notes.
I know, we're not in high school anymore... but all the more reason that nobody would expect to open a small piece of paper with "I miss you" or "I love you" written on it. It's free, easy, and can be left anywhere to surprise him or her. A surefire way to put a smile on his face.
I know from experience how amazing it feels to have your significant other do something like this for you.
In a healthy relationship, each partner relies on the other for love, guidance and advice. Sometimes, just taking the time to genuinely listen to what she has to say, and not saying anything at all, will say more to her than your words ever could.
Particularly for the guys: If a woman is complaining to you, remember that it means she trusts you enough to express her feelings to you. Don't betray that trust.
3. Do that thing he or she wants to do.
Whether it is watching a TV show your significant other enjoys, going to see the musical you're not really into, or trying that new restaurant with the cuisine you don't really care for -- do it anyway (and have a good attitude about it).
Relationships are about compromise, which means at times we do things we wouldn't normally do in order to make the person we care about happy. They will appreciate your effort and enjoy the experience even more because they get to share it with you.
4. Send a good morning text.
A text that starts your partner's day on a good note doesn't just say "good morning," it says "you are the first person I thought of when I woke up this morning."
5. Do what you say you're going to do. Be reliable.
Reliability, how boring. Reliability is the reason you buy a Toyota Corolla, not excitement. It's not glamorous or sexy or particularly interesting -- but you know what? When you walk outside in the morning and turn the key you know that sucker is going to start up without a flinch no matter how much it has been through.
A great romantic partner is someone you can count on without having to worry. You know they are going to be there for you when you need it. You know they are going to stand behind you when you need support, beside you when you need a teammate, and in front of you when you need protection. You don't have to wonder if they are going to do what they said they are going to do or if they are going to flake out on you last minute, because they are reliable.
6. Pay close attention and react accordingly. Be thoughtful.
In relationships and in life, I believe many of us overlook the importance of thoughtfulness. Life moves quickly and we often get so wrapped up in our day-to-day routines that we lose sight of how important it is to work to make our significant other happy as well. This includes learning one another's likes and dislikes, supporting each other during difficult times, and encouraging each other during the good times.
It includes paying attention to small details and doing special things accordingly that we know each other will like. Being thoughtful helps us live, connect and love more deeply with others.
7. Be patient with your partner.
Patience is an essential trait in someone we hope to build a strong relationship with. It takes patience to learn about each other and our personality differences. It takes patience to adjust, and to remain kind while they adjust. It takes patience to have productive discussions rather than arguments.
Patience is something that only we can feel -- others may notice it but if you do it right, nobody will actually know you are even being patient because you remain so calm and collected the entire time. Take a deep breath, and allow life to unfold as it should.
8. Be honest.
This is another big one. It may not seem like it, because honesty should be a quality that you express towards everyone in your daily life -- but being honest with a man or woman you care about will show that you respect them enough to be straight up.
Choose your words carefully, don't express your honesty in a way that would hurt feelings, but make sure your partner knows that they will get a straight answer when they come to you for one, no matter what it's about.
9. Make your partner feel safe.
This is not about physical safeness, but also emotional safeness. Just because men enjoy the feeling of physically protecting the woman they love from harm, doesn't mean they don't need to feel safe in their own ways as well.
Some men find it more difficult than others to emotionally open up and express themselves. In order to do so, they need to know they are not going to be judged for their feelings. Safety, in all uses of the word, is important for both partners to feel.
10. Always be willing to compromise.
While of course you should be compatible with your teammate, that doesn't mean that you will automatically love every single thing they love, and vice versa. If you truly care for someone and their happiness, you will be willing to watch, do, see, and experience things they enjoy, as they would do for you in return.
Without compromise, we can easily find our relationships resembling a see-saw with a huge boulder on one side, the distribution never shifts.
In this case, the boulder represents the wants and needs of one partner. There should be an equal amount of balance in order to keep you both happy and satisfied.
Satisfaction and fulfillment in a relationship can only come from forging a strong bond with another. When your hearts beat in unison at night and your thoughts transfer through a simple glance across the room. When you find that, you will understand the small everyday gestures that build this bond are the most important ones of all.
As Robert Brault said: Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.