It's easy to get anxious and fear the worst when you feel like your partner is getting distant. But maintaining closeness doesn't have to be hard. One major way to stay close is to show your partner you love them through kind gestures. "Loving your partner is truly about actions and words, not just feelings," clinical psychologist and relationship expert, Dr. Ryan Hooper tells Bustle. "These small, kind gestures on a day-by-day basis go a long way to maintaining love."
Just simply being kind to your partner may not seem like the big make-or-break thing for your relationship, but it's actually super important. For instance, research done by psychologist John Gottman found that kindness is the most important factor in predicting relationship satisfaction and stability. A 2017 study published in the journal Emotion found compassion is the most important quality to have in a marriage, and kindness was also found to be the number one thing people wanted most in a partner, according to a 2016 survey by Elite Singles. It even beat out more typical traits such as physical attractiveness, a good career, and social connections.
"It’s the little things you do every day that make the biggest difference in a relationship," Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, licensed therapist and co-founder of relationship building app Idealationship, tells Bustle. That means nothing grand or out of the ordinary are necessary because "closeness can not be maintained with occasional gestures or fleeting attempts." So here are some simple kind gestures experts say you can do to bring you closer to your partner.
1. Listen And Allow Them To Vent
If you just listen and allow your partner to vent, that can really show them that you care. Most of the time, you don't even have to come up with a solution. All you have to do is be there, pay attention, and maybe throw in something a little encouraging, if the situation calls for it.
"If I'm complaining about a rough day at work, instead of suggesting how I can have a better day, just listen to me and mirror what I say to make me feel better," Bethany Ricciardi, sex educator and relationship expert with Too Timid “The Romance Company” tells Bustle. "Responding with an, 'I'm so sorry you had a bad day, babe. I can't believe how much work you had on your plate,' can make your partner feel so much closer just by knowing that they're listening."
2. Ask About Their Friends And Family
If family and friends are a huge part of your partner's life, asking about how they're doing can show your partner you care about what's important to them. For instance, if they haven't seen their mom in a while, you can suggest making a trip out together. You can even do something simple such as liking a post their sister or their best friend made the other day. "They might not be your favorite people in the world, but if you know they're important to your partner and you take the time to make an effort, it can bring you closer," Ricciardi says.
3. Be Flirty
As Ricciardi says, relationships are like flowers that need to be watered multiple times a day. Acknowledging your partner each and everyday is super important in maintaining closeness. One fun way to do that is to flirt. Give them compliments. Tease and touch them. Just make them feel like you're still head over heels in love with them. "No matter how long you've been together, flirting can always make you feel closer," she says.
4. Follow Through With Everything You Say You're Going To Do
Don't make it a habit of flaking on your partner just because you know they'll probably forgive you. If you make plans, keep them. If you say you're going to take the dog to the vet, do it. "Make it a point to follow through on what you say," Ricciardi says. "It can help build and maintain trust in your relationship."
5. Always Remember To Say "Thank You"
Be grateful for your partner and what they do for you each day. Sometimes it's easy to forget to say "thank you," but make it a point to do so. It's super simple, but very kind and can make them feel appreciated.
If you want to take it a step further, licensed marriage and family therapist, Melissa Divaris Thompson, tells Bustle, "Share at least one thing you're grateful for each day with each other. Whether it’s doing the dishes or helping you work through a problem at work, letting your partner know that you appreciate them goes a long way in a relationship."
6. Maintain A Simple Yet Meaningful Daily Ritual
If you both live together, creating a meaningful daily ritual between you and your partner can include greeting your partner when you come home from work, sending a check-in text everyday at noon, and eating breakfast together every morning. If you don't live together, this can mean sending each other texts throughout the day to let the other know you're thinking of them, or scheduling a weekly date night you both stick to.
"With most people having busy schedules and always being on the go, it’s important to make the time to show how much you care about your partner," relationship expert, Corinne Evans, tells Bustle. "A simple sign of affection, like a goodbye kiss, can go along way in bringing you closer to each other."
7. Ask How Their Day Has Been
If it's not something you already do, make a habit out of it. It's so simple, yet very impactful. "Asking how each other’s day has been shows you care and are interested in your partners emotional and mental well being," licensed marriage and family therapist, Melissa Divaris Thompson, LMFT tells Bustle.
8. Always Say "Good Morning" And "Goodnight"
"It's an unsaid thing, but we all know when someone you're in a relationship with wishes you a good morning or goodnight, what they're really saying is, 'I care a lot about you, I'm thinking about you, and I want you to know it,'" Caleb Backe, a Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. This is especially true if you and your partner don’t live together or are long distance. Sending a simple text can say so much by saying so little.
9. Prep Some Food For Them If They're Tired Or Busy
"Cooking something for your partner is an extremely moving gesture," Backe says. Preparing a meal can take a bit of effort. So when you do it for your partner, especially if they're busy or had a tough day at work, that can really make them feel like you're looking out for them. "Even just handing them a granola bar on the go can make them feel loved and cared for," he says.
10. Share One Specific Thing You Love About Them Each Day
"One of the kindest and most loving things we can do for our partner on a daily basis is to tell that person at least one thing we love about [them]," Sherry Richert Belul, life coach and founder of Simply Celebrate tells Bustle. You can even mix it up. You can say it out loud one day and then surprise them with a surprise "I love you" written on a Post-It note the next day.
Whatever it is you want to say, Belul suggests to make it as specific as possible. So instead of just saying, “I love your sense of humor,” try saying something like, “I love the way you crack me up every time you do impressions. They're the best." That can have a way of making your partner feel both special and much closer to you.
Overall, there are so many different ways to show kindness to your partner each day. You may not even realize it, but every small, kind gesture you make does have a way of bringing you closer together. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what you do, just as long as it works for the both of you.