By Melissa Lee-Tammeus, PhD, LMHC, CCTP
It is that time of year again. Everywhere, red hearts, pink bows, and flowery cards are making an appearance to entice grand gestures. While loving acts on that one day can be wonderful, the care and adoration shared between partners the other 364 days of the year can be even more important. The small gestures done daily don’t take money or a holiday to accomplish, either. To show love and affection to that special person that doesn’t involve driving to a store, ordering something online, or waiting for a calendar day, read on.
Here are five easy things couples can do to keep the love alive all year round:
1) Hug each other every day. Use the whole body. Hug hard and long. Hugs are healthy and they feel good. They help a person breathe easier – all while releasing those special chemicals that make someone feel good. Breathe in those pheromones – it will open up those long ago memories and bring on nostalgia. The brain will not only remember the love from love ago but the love of today.
2) Walk together. Get outside, walk side by side, and hold hands, even for just a 15 minute walk around the block. Walking together not only refreshes the mind but helps one to pay attention to the world and to the person alongside. Walk around the neighborhood together if short on time– this simple gesture will remind a couple of the life built together.
3) Binge together. Pick a series on a favorite media platform and watch it together. The phrase Netflix and Chill is pretty common now but, sometimes, just Netflix and warm fuzzy slippers, sweats, and a big bowl of popcorn with an oversized blanket shared together can work wonders all by itself. Take the time to find a series to watch –learn what kind of entertainment the other likes and share those things together. Chose a day to binge on five episodes in a row together or plan a weeknight to dedicate an hour to every week. Stick to it. Couples will then have something to look forward to together and something to talk about. Do not watch without the other person present! This is a couple thing only – no cheating!
4) Cook together. This takes time and effort to get just right – it may not be a perfect symbiosis the first few times. Couples who cook together often have learned the way the other person moves and what is important to the other as far as habits in the kitchen. Cooking together helps a couple to experience all the little quirks that can both drive someone mad but also endear one to the other. Discover these things about each other. One person may like to chop, while the other may like to clean up the mess. One may be into the managing the stove, the other has a way with salads. Cooking together can be a way to discover new things about one another. To take it a step further, cook in sexy outfits (or naked!), or with music playing, or with a nice glass of whatever – or all three! The options are endless. Challenge each other to get creative with the food and the process of making it.
5) Kiss each other goodbye and walk each other to the door when leaving home. Greet each other at the door when arriving home. Yes, this can be annoying and sometimes simply can’t happen. But when it can happen, make the effort. Think about the day and how difficult it can be. How nice would it be to have the door open, see that smile, and hear a loving, “How are you?” Doing this for one another is a lightening of the load when coming home or a cheerleader cry of “You can do it!” when leaving home.
February is a time for grand gestures. But don’t forget the little actions that can be added to everyday life together – those are the gestures that last a lifetime, not just a day.