– Rachel, 41
There’s that saying: big doors swing on small hinges.
In intimate relationships, very often the small things (or Subtle Gestures) have the biggest emotional impact.
Coming up with the right Subtle Gesture takes listening. So listen to your partner for the next week. Make it a habit to really hear what your partner is talking about and think about some of the following questions while you do so:
What consistent themes do they bring up?
Where might they need some encouragement or support?
What has been stressing them out lately?
Make a list of the issues they’ve been dealing with over the past while and then brainstorm ideas about how you could alleviate stress in their life (if only by 5%).
Their dog keeps scratching at the door? Build a doggy door.
They wish they could see their siblings more often? Buy a gift card to their favourite restaurant and phone up their siblings to make it happen.
They’ve been feeling tense lately because of their job stress? Take up a massage course in your free time and give them a surprise rubdown.
While it is true that you will benefit in terms of feeling good about making your partner happy, you can’t do any of these things with the expectation that you will be rewarded for it in any way. Even if you are thinking in the back of your mind, “I’m totally going to get _______ for doing this for them,” it will sub-communicate your ulterior motives in your actions. This will take away from the power and authenticity of the Subtle Gesture.
Human beings have a sixth sense when it comes to being aware of others’ intentions (hint: it’s called intuition), and your partner will be able to easily recognize if your intentions aren’t in the right place.
So remember: give selflessly! Give with the sole intention of trying to improve your partner’s life in the most valuable way possible and your relationship will thrive as a result.
3. Calibrated Surprises
“I feel the most loved and cared for when my boyfriend does literally anything that shows that he was thinking of me. Whether it’s bringing me a small cupcake because it’s my favourite colour, doing my dishes while I’m in the shower, or surprising me with sushi after a long day at the office… it all goes a really long way with me.”
– Jennifer, 33
Most people flat-out love being surprised.
A Calibrated Surprise shows that you are deeply aware of them and their needs. It shows that you truly care about them.
The more closely tailored you can make your action fit their needs, the better. How do you create a Calibrated Surprise? Start by asking yourself the following questions:
What do they value most highly in their life and how can I give them more of that thing?
What is something that I could do for them that would help make their life easier?
When have I seen my partner the happiest, and how can I create more of those moments for them?
If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these five ideas from my personal stash.
– Have they mentioned their sore neck/back/legs recently? Set up a candlelit room to give them an hour long massage (bonus points if you play relaxing instrumental music)
– Write them a short poem and leave it somewhere you know they will find it (bonus points if it’s cheesy and terribly written- just make sure that it rhymes)
– If your partner is leaving on a short trip, pack a small teddy bear into their suitcase as a surprise
– Buy them their favorite kind of ice cream and put a small note with a Power Compliment on it
– Give them a quality gift that is appropriate to their hobbies (a new lens for a photographer, a pair of tickets to see their favorite band, etc.)
There are two other important components in crafting your Calibrated Surprise.
Firstly, if it’s a surprise that you think might be something that they will want some time to adjust to or prepare for, let them know in advance. The romance comes primarily from the fact that you have put in the time and effort into doing something nice for them, and not necessarily from the last-minuteness of the surprise. When in doubt, tell them about the surprise in advance.
For example, if you’re planning to surprise them with a date or weekend getaway, you should give them enough time to prepare for it. For example, for a lot of women, having a romantic date night sprung upon them with less than thirty minutes to get ready sounds like hell. Ditto for a romantic weekend getaway. And don’t even think about trying to pack her bags. If you miss one or two essential items, it could very well ruin the weekend for her.
Secondly, remember to start small. You don’t need to plan a weekend getaway or any other grand sweeping gesture as your first foray into romance. Write a note, send a text, make a meal, buy a rose… just take one small step toward surprising your partner and you’ll be simultaneously stepping into your newly thriving relationship.
4. Piercing Conversations
“For me, a really good, thorough conversation feels like sex. They are synonymous in my mind. I feel like my partner’s attention opens me in the same way that a good night between the sheets does.”
– Rachelle, 27
In the early stages of a relationship, your partner is new and exciting to you. Naturally, you spend a lot more time getting to know each other.
You ask probing questions on dates about their family, values, and childhood. You want to know what makes them come alive in their daily life. You’re curious as to whether or not they envision children in their future.
But after a certain point, conversations for many couples rarely ever penetrate the surface again. The result is that the emotional intimacy in a relationship can all but disappear.
What is emotional intimacy and why is it important?
Emotional intimacy comes from knowing the innermost details of your partner’s heart and mind. The intangible but obvious feeling of being so interconnected with your partner that you can look into their eyes and know their thoughts. You never have to ask if they’re in the mood for sex because you can read it clearly written all over their face. You don’t have to spend countless hours of passive-aggressive bickering before you realize that they’re upset with you because you’re already in tune with who they are and what they’re feeling in every moment.
A driving force for boosting a relationship’s level of emotional intimacy is something I call Piercing Conversations.
A Piercing Conversation starts with taking interest in them again, giving them the attention that they deserve, and setting aside regular time to have complete alone time with them (phones turned off and all distractions removed).
Brainstorm a list of questions that you want to know about your partner, but that you never figured out. To get you started, here are some examples of powerful questions you can ask to start a Piercing Conversation:
Who in your life, currently, do you wish you were able to spend more time with?
If you could instantaneously have three new skills, no effort or training involved, what would they be?
What’s something that brings you a lot of joy, that you wish you had more time for?
Are there any activities that you have been wanting to do for a while, but haven’t been able to try?
What does your ideal weekend look like?
What little thing have I done in the past few months that made you feel really loved, that I might not have even realized that I did?
If we were to go somewhere new in the world for a week, where would you want to go?
What makes you feel like you’ve come alive?
Have you ever seen something so beautiful that it made you cry? What was it?
If you were to ask me what my favourite five things about your personality are, what do you think I would say?
The results of Piercing Conversations are astounding.
Sex flows with more ease and connectedness. Unnecessary fights cease to exist. They become your cheerleader and you feel supported by their complete and loving devotion to you.
So if you feel like you and your partner have started to drift apart, or if you feel more like roommates and less like lovers, using this exercise will be a great way to rekindle your emotional intimacy.
How To Have An Intentional Love Relationship
Whatever you do, make sure you prioritize your love life.
Studies have shown that prioritizing your love life positively impacts every area of your life. It increases your health, wealth, and sense of personal fulfillment on a daily basis. Because of this, I encourage you to put twice the amount of effort into your love life as you do into your career.
The time to show your love to your partner is now. If any of this seems overwhelming, just start with baby steps. Taking any small action is better than settling for a mediocre relationship. When you see how positively she reacts, it will inspire you to do more.
Dedicated to your success,
Ps. Want to make your partner melt in a big, sexy, ongoing way? Check out my new book 50 Powerful Romantic Gestures That Will Make Your Partner Melt. It might just end up giving you the key to unlocking the kind of moment that your partner will remember for the rest of their lives. And what’s sexier than ongoing bragging rights?
This post originally appeared at JordanGrayConsulting.com
Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com