I'm fascinated by the power of little things to jump-start bigger changes. But can this strategy be applied to issues of love and relationships? Yes, absolutely. As the old song says, "Little Things Mean a Lot." And it's February, Valentine's Day month--the perfect time for a relationship resolution.
In honor of Valentine's Day, consider a small action step that will brighten your relationship with a loved one--spouse, child, friend, or any significant other. Even in relationships that have gotten tangled up in knots of resentment, anger, or boredom, sometimes pulling the right little string can magically untangle that knot.
You could choose one of these small steps suggested by couples therapists and sensible people everywhere:
• Take one deep breath instead of interrupting.
• Smile at your family and give a hug when you leave the house and when you come back.
• Turn complaints into requests.
• Say, "I'm sorry," when you've hurt the other person.
• Ask what the other person would like instead of trying to read his or her mind.
• Tell the other person what you would like instead of expecting him or her to read your mind.
• Work toward 5 positive interactions for every negative one.
• Start one sentence per day with the words, "I appreciate the fact that you..."