Happy relationships are loaded with lots of little acts of kindness and love. The little things add up to big appreciation and tenderness. Without little acts of love and affection, a relationship dies a slow, deliberate, non-emotional death.
• These important little acts start when you wake up. What is your attitude about facing a new day? Are you happy and optimistic about what the day holds for you or do you expect the worst before your feet hit the floor?
• Do you kiss your spouse or even say hello before your first cup of coffee? When was the last time you brought coffee to your spouse while he/she was still resting in bed? Did you turn the heat on or start the coffee brewing as soon as you left the bed?
• In her book, “The Joy Factor,” Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D, stated the following: “In his inspiring book ‘Joy Is My Compass,’ Alan Cohen writes that ‘the difference between a saint and a sourpuss is that the sourpuss sees his daily interactions as a nuisance, while the saint finds a continuous stream of opportunities to celebrate. One finds intruders, the other angels. At any given moment we have the power to choose what we will be and what we will see. Each of us has the capacity to find holiness or attack all about us.’”
• Within 15 minutes you have the power to create a heaven or hell for yourself and your spouse.
• You can start the day by saying, “I have a surprise for you. Let’s hit the road this morning and enjoy the beautiful weather.” Take your spouse to a special breakfast or a trip to a location you have enjoyed in the past.
• A sourpuss starts the day expecting and looking for trouble. When he stubs his toe on the end of the bed, he quickly proclaims, “This is going to be a hell of a day;” and he makes sure that his prediction comes true.
• A saintly person or even a reasonable person believes that hurting his toe early is probably a good omen. He gets all the bad karma out of the way and expects a positive, fun day, from there on.
• OK, we have the morning out of the way. How about the rest of the day? During the day do you have your spouse sit on your lap? Do you touch her hair as you pass by? Does a hug appear at any time on the scene? When is the last time you complimented her for any reason?
• Do you smile often during the day or laugh even once? When is the last time you drew a bath for her or massaged her back or feet? Not counting birthdays or Valentine’s Day, have you brought flowers as a nice surprise for her? When is the last time you turned off the T.V. and said, “I love you” or “I appreciate everything you do for me?”
• Leo Buscaglia offered the following sage comment: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
• Leo is right. These little acts of tenderness create a tender, loving environment for the relationship.
• Depression is the absence of tenderness or affection in one’s life. Anger is the first cousin of depression. So, when little acts never or rarely occur, anger and depression expand and push love aside. It’s never too late to quit being a sourpuss!
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.