Relationship: Do the little things really get love?

couple therapist reveals
Do the little things really keep love?

© Bernardbodo / Adobe Stock

In couples therapist Oscar Holzberg’s column, it’s all about typical love wisdom and its true content, he explains proverbs, lyrics, and famous quotes. This time: “Love lives on the beautiful little things” (Theodor Fontane, writer)

Something small: definitely yes. Even if there are no little things in love.

Now in detail: The love between Francesca and Niels hangs on the ropes, and their closeness is mired in everyday family craziness. Niels hopes the beautiful joint experiences as a couple will help. That’s why he suggests going out for a really elegant meal with a star chef and all. But Francesca shook his head to his disappointment. “We have to find each other again first. Ever talk again.”

Nils’ idea is not bad. A long-term relationship often lacks active joint activities: going to the movies, a weekend at the lake. And talking to each other is definitely helpful. But without a safe proximity, it’s hard to speak frankly.

But there is another way to get close to each other again: through beautiful, intentional little things. Even in the midst of a stressful relationship, we can still decide with a small, friendly nod. We can bring each other coffee in bed and leave a small note, Bring someone else’s favorite yogurt home from the grocery store, thank or praise each other, break the daily grind with a hug.

Notice the small gestures and rituals

When a relationship is going well, we rarely notice these little gestures. They are part of the rituals of our lives together. But lovable little things are signs of love. An essential element in our relationships. They showed that we pay attention, that we think of each other: “He might like it.” “If you call her now, she’ll be happy.” This tells us that we are important to our partner. This is an emotional connection.

So lovable “little things” are no small thing. In love there are no small things. Couples get into serious trouble because someone always lights up or someone leaves their hair down the drain. But he can also open closed heart chambers, the person next to us cooks his favorite dish or inquires about the progress of training. But in order for our kindness to reach our partner, we must know what he or she likes. What books does she like to read, what music does he like, and who is her best friend today. Mutual “love maps” are outdated, and we know through pair research that we must keep them up to date. Discussing the day’s events is more important to a happy partnership than a three-day romantic suite. One does not exclude the other.

However, to overcome extreme disappointment, small acts of kindness are inappropriate. When we are hurt badly, we don’t accept them. We have to make it straight – and talk. But Theodore Fontane rightly points out the importance of beautiful little things. There is a small exercise that you can consciously organize as a couple, but you can also do it on your own, “in secret,” so to speak. Prepare your partner/partners for a weekend (or week) at least twice a day a little joy and vice versa: write down all the beautiful little things he or she did for you or the relationship during this time. Then you can talk about it: about the beautiful little things in your relationship.

Oscar Holzberg He has been treating and writing about couples for nearly 30 years. “Love is not an illusion,” he says, “but we have many illusions about love.”

Falling in love with your partner: Oscar Holzberg

Oscar Holzberg, 67, has been counseling couples at his Hamburg clinic for more than 20 years and has been married for over 30 years. His current book is called New Key Phrases in Love (240 pages, €11, DuMont).

© Ilona Habin

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