As I was participating in a chat room tonight, one of the participants said, “I took it for granted that we would always be together.” It reminded me that the most intense enemy of relationships is neglect. Compliments get fewer and fewer over time. Acts of kindness become memories rather than habits. Being other-centered gets replaced by a well-intentioned, self-absorbed pursuit of success in our careers and our parenting.
We are often unaware of the deterioration because we are busy, focused and truly believe we are doing the right things.
I talk to men almost every week who are confused about what happened. Their wives are unhappy, uninterested in sex and unresponsive to any suggestions. These men usually cannot find anything big they have done wrong. It is just that a lot of little things have added up to slowly deteriorate what used to be passionate love.
This is a good week to stop taking one another for granted. Set aside 30 minutes just to listen to your spouse – no agenda, no suggestions about how to change, no correcting the way they think – just listen with curiosity. Go on a date. Share a meal, share a walk, share some fun and remind yourselves that you like to be together. Do a favor for one another, just because. Fill her car with gas. Cook his favorite meal. Clean up for your spouse because it is a busy day. Do the dishes, take out the trash, wash the car, fold the laundry unexpectedly.
If we keep the little things strong, our love tends to grow.