Micro Moments Just Might Save Your Marriage—Here’s How

from a quick text to sweet ‘hello’

micro moments: asian couple eats breakfast together. the woman is leaning her head on the man's shoulder
Israel Sebastian/Getty Images

Ah, romance. When we think of love, we often associate it with grand gestures. A bouquet of 50 red roses. Candlelit dinners. A surprise getaway. Let’s face it, though. These things can be tall orders, especially ten years into the relationship when you’re juggling kids and careers. How do you keep the romance alive when all you want to do at the end of the day is plop into a silent blob on the couch with a bag of salt and vinegar chips and reruns of Frasier? Cue the mirco moments. I spoke with psychotherapist and co-founder of Relatable, Jessica Montague, who explained to me how micro moments might just be the key to meaningful connection with your partner...even if you only have 30 seconds.

Meet the Expert

Jessica Montague, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and the co-founder of Relatable, an app working to educate couples on creating micro moments with each other to build and foster connection. Montague holds a masters degree in social work from Columbia University and specializes in couples and family therapy. She operates a private practice in Oakland, California.

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What Are Micro Moments?

Micro moments, Montague explained to me, are interactions that last less than 30 seconds. Despite the brevity, it’s a moment that allows people to feel a connection to each other. Think a friendly wave when someone allows you to merge traffic lanes, or a quick conversation in the coffee line. 

“They’re small moments but can have a big impact, especially when you string them together,” Montague says. This is the key to keeping things fresh and meaningful in a relationship. 

How to Practice Micro-Moments

Perhaps you’re thinking that micro moments require intention. And intention takes effort. But I’m wiped! You think. I don’t have time to make all this extra effort.

Montague told me that she encourages her couples to instead reframe how they approach the micro moment. Rather than it being something additional to seek out, view it as an opportunity that’s right there and ripe for the taking. One way Montague thinks of it is in terms of “entry and exit points.”

“Whether it’s leaving the house or coming in and out of a room where somebody is there, [those are mirco moments],” she told me. “[These are possible points] of connection, validation or acknowledgement [in a world where many interactions, even in family settings, are transactional].”

The great thing is that there isn’t one right way to manage micro moments. It’s as simple as saying hello or giving a quick kiss when you walk in the door before you start talking about dinner plans. It’s being conscientious about not always having your headphones on when your partner is in the room. It’s an “I love you” text at lunch.

Leaning into the Negative

It’s impossible for every interaction to be a positive one. But conflict offers a great opportunity for connection and validation. Leaning into the small disagreements can build goodwill and help you avoid a burst of built-up tension.

“[By] learning how to pay attention to little moments, [you are more empowered to intervene in a crappy one] rather than let ten of those moments go [so that it builds to a huge fight],” Montague says. These are opportunities to acknowledge how the other person is feeling, validating that and looking for a solution.

Ultimately, what I’ve learned, is that getting into the habit of embracing micro moments will take time. Montague advises giving yourself grace if you get off to a bumpy start...and setting reasonable expectations. One a day is a great quota. And for the naysayers who maintain this kills the romance, Montague says, “There’s a lot of mystery that comes with romance. But true intimacy is not really a mystery. It’s knowing each other deeply.” Now isn’t that romantic?

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