Seeing the Love in Small Gestures

Posted by: Lisa Shea

Seeing the Love in Small Gestures - 11/16/11 07:30 AM

When we first start dating, we often go for grandy, showy gestures. We buy flowers (which quickly die). We eat out at expensive restaurants (bank accounts drop). We invest time in short-term items like texts.

Over time what tends to happen is that we invest in more meaningful, long term interactions. Instead of a bouquet that rots on a table, we invest time and energy to build a garden which flowers all year round. Instead of that blast-of-cash dinner, we create a delicious snuggly meal on a cold, wintry morning that nourishes. Instead of leaping for text messages, we share a talk about how to make our home even more cozy.

I think sometimes it's easy to overlook these new "subtler" forms of love. They feel natural. But that's the whole wonder of it. The relationship has become so second nature that these shining examples of love are "normal". Think to all the lonely people out there who wish they had someone to be that connected with. It is a blessing to treasure.

When my boyfriend takes 2 hours out of his day to drive my car to the tire shop, and he sits there while fresh, new tires are put on my car, and makes my world a safer, more secure one, that is a powerful show of love. It might not look like a bouquet of roses, but to me it shows his love shining through. He actively gave 2 hours of his time to keep me safe.

Do you take time to appreciate those shows of love in your own world?
Posted by: jilly

Re: Seeing the Love in Small Gestures - 12/04/11 10:46 PM

I prefer the small gestures, although sometimes I have to remind myself to notice them. My mom takes all these things for granted, and so it doesn't come naturally to thank someone for these things.

I think I am pretty good at it by now, but it still doesn't come naturally.
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Seeing the Love in Small Gestures - 01/29/12 07:41 PM

I agree that it can become easy to take those actions for granted, which is a shame. They are the "real" signs that someone cares for you - that they do something to keep you safe and healthy.

If I'm hungry my boyfriend will stop what he's doing and spend an hour in the kitchen and make whatever it is I'm craving, and bring it out to me. That's a substantial investment of time and effort just for a meal I'll consume in say 15 minutes. And then it's gone! I try to always show how much I appreciate that.

I'm so backlogged with work that I'm lucky to be able to go with him to his monthly band gigs, and "give up" those 4-5 hours to support him. And that's about the extent of what I do for him, I think. Besides cleaning the house, which is a joint support task.
Posted by: jilly

Re: Seeing the Love in Small Gestures - 02/02/12 08:06 PM

I actually do ask myself in many personal 'live' interactions if I should thank someone or show appreciation for something. It's really hard. I did not grow up with that. It never really occurs to me to thank people, unless it's something like a stranger opening the door for me, or a friend taking care of a bar bill. Those seem obvious.

Then there are the times Dan will do the dishes and he will clean up a couple of mine that are sitting there. Or he will tilt the tv over for me when i am on the edge of the room working out while both watching something. Little things. I really am making an all out effort to notice and appreciate things. I know i am self absorbed, but i can still TRY better. smile
Posted by: jilly

Re: Seeing the Love in Small Gestures - 02/02/12 08:08 PM

Oh, Lisa, I would consider this as a BIG thing, not a little show of love:

"When my boyfriend takes 2 hours out of his day to drive my car to the tire shop, and he sits there while fresh, new tires are put on my car, and makes my world a safer, more secure one, that is a powerful show of love."

Dan would never do that for me unless I begged and begged and he'd resent it the entire time. He'd take that resentment out on me in other ways over time.
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Seeing the Love in Small Gestures - 02/03/12 08:05 PM

Dear Jilly -

Time investments can get tricky though. People have vastly different ideas about what is worth doing.

When we first started dating, for a time period when I was getting BellaOnline going Bob paid *all* the house bills. So mortgage, electric, etc. His investment of time to "pay my share" was fairly large. So he was working and investing that time and I wasn't thanking him.

I try to be more aware now - but there are so many variations:

* I want him to get rid of the steel. It takes a solid year and I nag at him a lot. But clearly this is not something he wants to do, so why did I nag? Why didn't I just do it myself?

* I want him to cook me dinner. This is something he enjoys doing. So he does it, and I'm thankful.

* I need him to pay the total house bills. He does it without a single complaint, and I don't thank him. This is an immense investment of his time.

So I think it is very much a balancing act depending on the interests of people.

Bob likes car stuff. To him that's a fun thing, to go hang out with the car guys.
Posted by: jilly

Re: Seeing the Love in Small Gestures - 02/03/12 10:29 PM

That's true, if he likes the car stuff, it's not such a huge imposition.

Although dan hates doing computer things for me too, and we know he loves computers.

he just prefers to show love in little unasked for things. Whether they are things that matter to me or not, I guess, isn't the point. smile
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Seeing the Love in Small Gestures - 02/04/12 02:03 AM

Right, I think that's part of it.

I'm sure some boyfriends would have had the dishwasher and washing machine fixed in a few days, they would have loved working on it. Bob loves taking them apart - and then they sit in pieces for a year smile So even though on Bob knows I really want these things fixed, he just never does it.

So at least Dan does it, with complaints smile Bob never gets to the doing it stage on a category of tasks.

I think the lesson is that for certain categories of tasks we have to find other people who are happy to do them. It just doesn't work to drive a person to do something they're against doing. Just like we probably resist when they ask us to do things we're against doing. Like Bob wants to move to Arizona smile And I refuse.