Marriage and “Little Things”

I’ve been wondering lately – what can I do to keep from taking my husband for granted?

I don’t mean that I’m not taking care of the house, being sweet to him, etc. And I don’t mean that we’re not having sex (okay….that’s kind of a convoluted, double-negative way to let y’all know we’re having plenty of sex…;) ).  I just feel like I’m not the same, loving kind of girlfriend/wife person that I used to be. He has a box where he’s kept all the letters I wrote him while we were dating and I don’t know why we don’t do the same “little things” for each other any more.

Is there a way to bring more of this “little things” type of  romance back into our lives? I’m not talking about flowers and champagne-type, roll around in bed romance (after all, studies are now actually showing that “cheap sex” is best)….I’m thinking more about the sweet, lover-ish kind of things that you do for each other when you’re first dating.

What sparked my thoughts on this? The fact that someone at work gave me a candy bar from one of those school fundraisers and I brought it home and gave it to Ducks as a treat. Sounds sweet, right? Well, it really wasn’t. I mean, it was a nice gesture, but the intent was to save it for him so I wouldn’t eat it, not to lovingly think of him and bring him something special.

Delicious...but not sweet

Carrie, my freshman year roommate in college and I both starting dating guys around the same time. So, we’d work on little projects for them together. We’d buy Hershey’s kisses and drop them off in cute gift wrap at their dorms’ front desk so they’d get a call to come pick up a gift and feel important. We’d bake Valentine’s treats together. We made jars filled with special notes and quotes for them for the summer, since we’d be spending it apart.

Separate from the things Carrie and I made, I was also a big on writing letters. I wrote letters for every day of spring break when he went on a trip out of the country and we didn’t get to talk. Even once that we graduated from college, I’d send him little notes in the mail. But, now, I don’t know if I’m just too busy, or too stressed, or that I just take it for granted now that we’re in love; we’re married; we live in the same house; we see each other every day.

Also, I guess men don’t really think a lot about romantic gestures. I’m sure he’s not pining away to get a special note from me under his pillow. Is it just that when we grow up, we show our love in different ways — like doing laundry and packing lunches and running errands for each other? But, then, when people end up breaking up and finding new love, don’t they get all giddy from the special-ness of the relationship (don’t worry! We’re not breaking up! We’re doing great – I’m just feeling philosophical)? So, maybe they were missing that before?

 I have “Little Women” practically memorized and as I’ve been thinking about this issue for the past few days, this quote came to mind from the time following Meg and John Brooke’s wedding:

“John did not find Meg’s beauty diminished, though she beamed at him from behind the familiar coffee pot. Nor did Meg miss any of the romance from the daily parting, when her husband followed up his kiss with the tender inquiry, Shall I send some veal or mutton for dinner, darling? The little house ceased to be a glorified bower, but it became a home, and the young couple soon felt that it was a change for the better. At first they played keep-house, and frolicked over it like children. Then John took steadily to business, feeling the cares of the head of a family upon his shoulders, and Meg laid by her cambric wrappers, put on a big apron, and fell to work, as before said, with more energy than discretion.”

I know that Ducks and I love each other. I know that we’re both busy people – he’s studying diligently to do well in school and improve our future. I’m working hard at work to be connected, to make money and to support us. I know that we do a lot for each other – but is it enough that we show our love by loading the dishwasher and hanging picture frames and taking the laundry upstairs? I guess the question is:

“Do couples need sweet gestures to have a great, fulfilling relationship?” Okay, discuss.

5 responses to “Marriage and “Little Things”

  1. I think that as you become more routinely married, the
    little things can fall through the cracks. But part of being
    married is finding new “little things.” And while you might not
    write love notes anymore or bake special cookies, you can find
    small things you can do to make his life better. I understand what
    you mean by it’s not that you’re fighting or not intimate or not
    good to each other. It’s the little “extra” stuff. Hubs always
    fills my car up with gas. That’s not necessary. He didn’t drive it
    and I’m perfectly capable of it. If he didn’t do it, it wouldn’t
    mean he was being mean. But the fact that he does it makes me feel
    loved. I’m pretty sure he feels the same way when I come home with
    his favorite takeout chicken. Not because I even like it or because
    I have to, but because he likes it. It’s not flowers and candy but
    it’s our little extra effort.

  2. I find myself doing less of the “extra little things” as time passes as well. I think it’s just a habit that we fall into, not necessarily good or bad. Love, and it’s demonstrations, ebb and flow.

    Have you heard of the “love languages” theory? I think it is helpful to know, or even discuss your love language and the love language of your partner so you can be mindful to give him/her the affection he/she needs.

    I do think all couples should strive to keep the romance alive and strong by paying special attention to each other and lavishing things/compliments/love notes, etc. upon each other, but I dont think it has to be constant or even consistent, necessarily, if that makes sense.

  3. First, about the letters: Awwwww. 🙂 One of the best things Nick ever did for me was set up a “love blog” where he spent a month posting a blog post a day about why he loved me. It was adorable.

    But that leads me to the other part: We don’t really do that for each other as much now either. I mean, we’re together every day, which is a huge change from the past three years, but it’s just weird since it’s so different from dating where time together was so precious.

    Yes, married couples still need those sweet, dating, show-that-you-love-the-other-person gestures. But they don’t always have to be over the top. My parents used to always make a point of talking together in the kitchen while making dinner, no matter who was cooking. I remember this vividly from my childhood because that was a time they always made sure to spend together, especially after work.

    Now, when I start feeling alone or resentful of how much studying Nick has, I go grab him for a hug and tell him that I’m proud of him for the work he does or how happy I am that we’re just there together every day. I’m sure he appreciates the hug, and it always makes me happier too.

  4. I agree w/ PS Jones above. I think the little things change. Now that we have kids, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the new little things he does. He gets up early and whispers to me to sleep in while he deals with our kids. He brings me home a cupcake or a salad from my favorite place. He does the laundry when I’m not looking. I try to do little things for him too. I think it’s very important to show you care and support each other and it’s these little moments that support that idea.

  5. I still struggle with this too, just living together instead of on opposite coasts. In the LDR it’s alll about doing this stuff. I think the things I’ve found that work well are writing notes for his lunches, breakfast in bed, getting up early to do some chore that he had planned to do, buying something that I know he would want but wouldn’t want to spend the $$ on, surprising him by picking him up after work, and ummm sometimes stuff that I’m not going to write about. I probably don’t do these things enough but I think the little romantic stuff can make all the difference. It’s hard when you’re tired and overworked and just generally not up for doing anything extra, though.

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