A lot of us want better relationships, but not all of us are willing or able to do the work to develop them. The good news is that there are ways to improve your relationship in less than a minute. Sixty seconds can go a long, long way if you use them wisely. "The most beautiful elements of a relationship, like romance, love, joy, friendship, fun, commitment, trust, and emotional intimacy, don’t flourish in lofty gestures," practicing psychologist and Harvard lecturer Holly Parker, PhD, author of If We're Together, Why Do I Feel So Alone?, tells Bustle. "They thrive in the world of the everyday, in those caring deeds that, repeated regularly, become little habits of affection that color a couple’s life and give the relationship its own unique emotional hue."
When you put a bunch of nice gestures together for an extended period of time, they can create a relationship in which you're both habitually going out of your way for each other. Parker uses this analogy: "Recall a time you went for a walk or a run. A step or two won’t take you far, right? But if you repeat that step over and over again, you can travel for miles. The same is true of the steps we take with our partner. Relationships bloom in the details."
If you're ready to start taking the steps toward a thoughtful, loving relationship, here are some quick ways to put a smile on your partner's face.
1. Send a cute "thinking of you" text.
Bonus points if you add your favorite emoji.
2. Give them a compliment.
3. Give them a hug!
4. Clear or wash their dishes for them.
5. Tuck them in when they go to bed.
6. Leave a post-it that says "I love you" on their mirror.
7. Send them an e-card.
8. Share something awesome that they said, wrote, or created on social media.
9. Throw in a piece of candy for them while you're buying groceries.
10. Put on their favorite song as they come home from work.
11. Ask them if there's something new they want to try in bed.
12. Text or email them a funny GIF
...because silly animals make everyone's day better.
13. Ask if there's anything fun they want to do over the weekend.
14. Get up from your chair and give them a kiss while you're working.
15. Put on an item of clothing or piece of jewelry they gave you
...and tell them how much you like it.
16. Share a great memory between you that you still think about.
17. Send them an article that made you think of them.
18. Offer to get them a glass of wine, water, or coffee from the kitchen.
19. Thank them for something nice they did for you recently.
20. Get their attention just to say, "Hey, I love you."
As a relationship goes on, it becomes easier and easier to take each other for granted. That's why it's so important to keep trying to please each other like you did in the beginning. Sometimes, all it takes to reconnect is a minute of your time.