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Building a Relationship: Simple Things Matter

Posted by Cynthia Johnson on June 11, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Thirty years of research on successful love and marriage has taught us many things, but first and foremost – no love has blossomed or been sustained without doing the “simple things.” Big things don’t matter until your relationship has mastered the art of doing the simple things day in and day out in your relationship with another human being whom you purport to love.


All too often in life, people make assumptions about love and relationships that do not stand up under scrutiny – that are not supported by the available evidence. So, what are the facts?

One of the great misconceptions of all time about love and relationships is this – just do the big things and everything will turn out well. And what do the big things include? For starters the list includes “having financial stability in your relationship,” “being in love is all that matters,” “having a good job and a house in the suburbs,” and so it goes. But the truth is, these big things are important, but they are only a by-product of doing the simple things. Here’s what we mean.

It is an established fact – successful love is based on an accumulation of the simple things. If you want your marriage and your relationship to succeed, just do the simple things! Do them day in and day out. When your relationship has mastered the “simple things” you have a chance to make it work. You have a chance to make it last. But if you don’t, well, failure is an option.

There is another important fact of life when it comes to love and relationships – there will be big challenges to address in your relationships, of that you can be sure. You might have to deal with financial setbacks, serious illness, the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one. And trust us on this – if your relationship with the one you love has mastered the art of doing the simple things day in and day out, the likelihood of your relationship making it through the tough times are multiplied many times over.

So what are these simple things? Here are a few: always showing respect for the one you love; saying I love you many times a day; engaging in simple acts of kindness (breakfast in bed, flowers on non-special occasions; opening doors for them, etc.); giving your lover lots of daily hugs; treating them with courtesy at all times; helping clean up the dinner table; sharing financial decisions with them, and the list goes on.

The point is, simple things matter and when you practice doing them, they accumulate. Simple acts add up. And always remember, you can’t keep turning on then turning off doing the simple things. You have to consistently engage in doing the simple things day in and day out. When you do, you will be surprised at how well this simple notion works. Start engaging in them today.


By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship and essential marriage advice get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts (Jossey-Bass/Wiley)

Categories: Relationships

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Reply James Sutton
7:32 AM on June 26, 2012 
I agree simple acts of kindness can go a along way to strengthening the bond between two people. Not only during the dating phase but throughout your life committed to one another.
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