Heart to Heart

Little acts count that much

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By FARAHANI MUKISA

Posted  Sunday, February 2  2014 at  02:00

In Summary

Much of what makes a relationship happy is not the big things, but how you interact on a day-to-day basis.

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Do you think of your spouse throughout your day? I don’t mean daydreaming about your love for him or her, or about when you’ll see each other again, or even about what you did together last night.

Joy and Jimmy got married two months ago but all the care,love, gratitude seems to have worn off one week after honeymoon. Then John and Maria Bahika celebrated 20 years in marriage but they are like teens in love.
What could have led to the eroded spark in the former relationship?

The same person whom, once upon a time, you would thank for little things, now feels unappreciated for all that they do for you daily.

Why would a “stranger” offer you a drink or hold the door for you at work place, and you hurriedly thank them even before their act of kindness is complete, and yet, you show no gratitude to your spouse’s hard work all day long?
What we fail to realise, according to Ali Luyimbazi, counsellor at Carmelite Counselling Group in Ntinda, is that expressing gratitude benefits both partners in the relationship – the recipient and the giver. “When you appreciate your partner, she or he gives more in return,” he says.

“On days when spouses feel appreciated, they feel more attached and excited even the following day,” says Luyimbazi. “Recipients of gratitude also increase their satisfaction on days when it is expressed.”
Luyimbazi refers to gratitude as a booster for romantic relationships. He says that couples should appreciate that each unit of improvement in expressed appreciation decreases by half the odds of the couple breaking up in six months, as depicted in an article entitled; The Happy Couple: Secrets to a Long Marriage, which was written in an Americans scientific magazine.

James Kato, 40, a banker argues that every day is filled with wonderful opportunities to tell the special person in your life, how grateful you are for the relationship.
“ In my first days of marriage, I used to write the love notes especially if I ate my favourite meal in time after work,” he recalls adding, “my wife always got excited and did more than cooking my favourite dish.”
Jean Mary Kwizera, a businessperson believes that helping your spouse with house chores does magic. “Yes, we have housekeepers but when your career wife takes an extra step to do work at home, you feel the need to thank her.” He says it shows how thoughtful she is. For instance when my wife goes to scrub the bathroom, I do the dishes as the househelp prepares food.” This way we feel the love and care for each other grow by the day.
Luyimbazi advises couples to be creative in expressing thanks.

“Learn and use different phrases every time. If you keep saying “Thank you” all the time, it loses its charm after a while. Try more personalized phrases: “I love it when you….”, “I am grateful for…”, “May God bless you!”
As for Adrian Lokeris, a chef confesses,“ I never get mad at Julia’s burnt food. I say, honie, thanks for the time and thoughtfulness. But, next time I shall help with that.” He says that she has improved her culinary skills.
Look for positives to appreciate even in negative circumstances. How often you get upset when your husband or wife tells you: “Honey, I have to work extra hours next weekend to meet a project deadline,” he commends.
Instead of whining, why don’t you thank them for informing about the situation? This way, your spouse will do their best to reciprocate and make up for the inconvenience.
Little acts of gratitude make your husband or wife feel special.

fmukisa@ug.nationmedia.com