Raise your hand if you can’t help but spend every spare minute you have with your spouse nitpicking and strategizing around the logistics of life. (It’s only natural that you trend toward this conversation pattern the longer you’re married, but also...when else are you going to plot out ways to improve your meal planning efforts or figure out who’s covering preschool drop-off next week?)
But since time together is limited, we’ve got a tried-and-true tactic for perking things up: Take 30 seconds to talk about the logistical wins, too.
It could be as simple as sending an afternoon email where you rattle off three success stories from the week. Or before you turn in for the night (and do the whole thing all over again tomorrow), try verbalizing a handful of moments that made you feel good, but also compliment the other person. (Examples: 1. You totally crushed the laundry and I honestly can’t believe you even took time to match the socks. Thank you! 2. Can you believe we watched an hour drama this week? We usually only make it through 30 minutes of TV, but we did it. YES! 3. Sam ate three bites of carrots today and I think it was because of that trick you came up with on the fly. Brilliant!)
The point is to notice the other person, the efforts they’re making on behalf of your partnership and celebrate them. Not only is this way more fun to do than going over this week’s shopping list, but research shows that acknowledging small wins can boost motivation and self-confidence. That said, this is not meant to add yet another to-do to your already lengthy list.
Instead, think of it as a daily (or even weekly) practice that’s rooted in gratitude, but also a moment to lovingly—and, on occasion, humorously—honor the little things. (Come on, it’s kind of awesome to applaud your spouse for mundane tasks like sock pairing and vegetable creativity, right?)