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Little Acts of Kindness Add Up


This is a great relationship article from all places the Business Insider. It talks about some interesting research on what contributes to a couple’s happiness. The good news is you don’t need to buy each other expensive gifts or do the grand gestures people sometimes think are so important. The bad news is for your partner to feel truly connected and cared about you may have to put down your paper or your texting or your Candy Crush game when your partner wants to share with you what great new Christmas decoration is on sale at CVS this week or how the temperature is really going to drop next week. Yes it turns out these little moments actually have meaning. These are called bids and happy couples respond to a much higher percentage of bids than unhappy couples.
Happy family, father, mother, son and daughter
It may be helpful to understand these bids for what they are. These are the golden nuggets of your partner trying to connect with you, to share their lives and interests. If these moments are met with “Huh?” or are ignored a sad thing happens. The less bids are responded to the less a partner will attempt them. And then people feel less connected and cared about. I will hear couples often say “I am the last priority to my spouse after their shows, the dog, the kids, the buddies, the almighty iPad or phone.” Is this how you want your significant other to feel? These little moments of not tuning in are dangerous because they seem harmless but if these are typical rather than occasional you may want to become more aware that these suckers add up.

It turns out that another crucial factor in relationships is how people react to each other’s good news.

It may seem obvious that responding negatively is a problem but again we must also be mindful of the less than enthusiastic response. If your partner is excited to share something with you and you respond with a muted emotional response of “That’s nice” or just sort of pass over it and move on to another topic this can feel very disappointing. The sad part is sometimes people have no clue that they are doing this or how to respond in a more enthusiastic, empathetic way. Counseling can be a great way to get feedback about this from an objective person. Sometimes I like to videotape couples interacting so they can see what I am seeing.

Developing the ability to celebrate each other and your relationship is important. Sometimes people never witnessed this and so they don’t see the value. This is why I react strongly when people tell me they don’t make a big deal out of birthdays or anniversaries. There is a lot of stress in couples and families. Life can be hard and the world can be uncaring. The one place we should feel special and valued is in our families. Ask your family members if they feel important and if they believe they are at the top of your priority list. If not it would be a great time to start turning towards the bids and improving your ability to celebrate the good news and times together.

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