Close up shot of a couple holding pinkies. The person on the left is feminine, with a small solitaire diamond ring on her finger. The person on the right is masculine. It appears as if the couple is newly engaged. The colours within the image are muted. Skin tones are rich browns, those colours are mirrored in the background. The couple's clothing is slightly seen, but very dark in colour.

Four Things Your Relationship Needs Everyday, Not Just Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s safe to assume most couples are thinking about what exactly they’ll be doing to celebrate. As with any holiday or celebratory moment, we naturally look to bring something extra for our partner. It might not be gifts, it could be extra attention or gestures.

What if I told you these things should be a part of your relationship every day, not just Valentine’s Day? I’m not saying you need to make a dramatic gesture or bring gifts to your partner every day, but perhaps small things for your partner each day.

We know from research that the strength in a relationship is built through the small moments that we do each day. These moments provide points of connection that help deepen our relationship.

Think of your relationship’s strength as a jar. The fuller the jar gets, the stronger the relationship is. When we drop a pebble each day into the jar, it fills up really quick! We can’t just toss in a rock every few months and expect the jar to be full.

So what are these pebbles we put in each day?

They have to be something you can do each day without difficulty, perhaps built into a daily ritual. Here are four things I believe you can do every day to strengthen your relationship:

An Understanding of Your Partner’s Love Language. The first question we need to ask here is do you know your partner’s love language? Second, do you know yours? If you answered no to either question, head over here to take a free quiz (for you) or share it with your partner (for their’s).

Once you confidently know what your partner’s love language is, you need to understand what this means. Odds are, you and your partner do not share the same love language. But knowing their love language gives you the tools to understand how your partner receives and feels love. You also gain the ability to make more informed choices when it comes to gifts and gestures, you might feel less anxiety surrounding gifting your partner when you know what they like.

It takes the guesswork out of what makes them (or you) feel good. When we are conscious of our differences we can share our thoughts and needs as well as acknowledge that we are two seperate people.

Leaning Towards Your Partner. There are all sorts of micro moments that happen throughout our day, most go by without a thought. However, these moments have deeper meaning than their face value.

Your partner reaching out for a hug, for example, gives them feedback of whether or not you will turn to them, signaling that they are important.

A strong relationship is about meeting these bids for attention and not getting lost in the distractions of life. It’s so easy to turn away to your children, your phone, or even inward towards something happening inside you.

Practice being mindful of these bids for attention your partner sends and practice turning towards them. Want to learn more about leaning towards your partner? Check out this article I wrote for Motherly.

Choosing Validation Over Problem Solving. How many times have you gone to your partner to vent something you are struggling with, only to be met with your partner’s solution for the problem? It can feel really frustrating when we are seeking validation but instead are met with problem solving. We’re all guilty of this, it’s natural for us to want to help those we love and sometimes our first instinct to help isn’t what they really need.

Often times this fixing is more about our own discomfort than truly being able to see what our partner needs. Read that one more time.

It feels good to fix our partner’s problems. When our partner comes to us and they are experiencing something difficult, we want to make their pain go away. The truth is, this fixing is more self-serving than true genuine caring for the other person.

Now that we know this, when your partner comes to you, stand in the position of letting them know that you see their experience, whatever it might be. Do this every single day. Hold yourself from trying to fix their problem. If you feel the urge to problem-solve or get a sense this is what they might be seeking, ask first.

Expressions of Appreciation. In addition to being able to show that you are emotionally attuned to your partner’s needs, we must also build our love bank. How do we do this? Remember those pebbles I mentioned above? Even though each of these four things are those pebbles, these are the ones you might be able to find the most throughout your day.

Showing and expressing appreciation gives our partners direct feedback that we see them and like what they’re doing. Did your partner forget to do something? Perhaps you do it for them. Did your partner see you needed something, like a glass of water, and bring it to you before you even had the chance to do it yourself? Let them know you appreciate this about them.

Just like practicing gratitude helps us see the good in our lives and realize the sources of good are close to us, doing so within our relationship helps our partners see they are a source of good in our lives and in turn makes them feel good.

Think about strong relationships and how these four elements can help fortify your relationship. Don’t wait for the Hallmark moments to do so. Keep doing these things every day, not just today or Valentine’s Day.