My husband and I are celebrating our 5-year wedding anniversary this week and, as usual, we almost forgot about this significant milestone, my husband frantically phoning the latest must-visit restaurant for a last-minute booking. Neither of us was surprised that this day almost passed us by without even a mention – this is exactly what A and I do after all. We never make a big deal out of our love; we simply do not do big displays of affection. Instead, we focus on the small things, the small acts of love which show us that despite our routines, child- and work-driven lives, we still care.
This morning, for example, A could go into the office a bit later than usual, so instead of our normal, rushed, morning routine, he got up, fetched Bean from his cot and made us a cup of coffee, letting me lie in for an extra 5 minutes. Not only did this give me a little bit of much-needed peace in our busy lives, it showed me that he cared – he sacrificed his extra lie-in time to give me a break.
And that to me is the crux of a good relationship. It’s not about the big displays of love, the extravagant outings or the expensive gifts, it’s about the daily acts of kindness, the spontaneous kisses, the gentle touch of a hand. Sure, the big things are also important – they give those special days that special feeling. But a relationship cannot survive on the big things. No, relationships survive on the little things.
It’s that extra shared cup of coffee in the morning even when he is running late, it’s cooking his favourite meal even though she doesn’t really like it, it’s unpacking the dishwasher so that she can have an extra-long shower. It’s the shared smile across the room, it’s the joint laughter at something silly and it’s telling her that she is beautiful. It’s the sheepish smile and the bad joke after a fight and it’s his gentle hug when she is crying.
These are the things that really matter. These are the everyday moments of sacrifice and gratitude, the small acts of love, which make me choose A, and our joint lives, over and over again. It’s these small, seemingly insignificant things, which make me look forward to the next few decades, because, when I look back on our marriage one day, our lives so inextricably linked, I want to remember the way we made each other feel, the moments of laughter, joy and love, not the fancy restaurant we visited.