As the years go by, my husband and I grow closer together. Small acts of love can builds stronger and healthier relationships.
Over the last several years my husband has gravitated more and more to the kitchen. He’s always had his specialties. He makes an excellent cornbread dressing that he’s perfected over the years using a family recipe passed down through generations of his Southern family.
But lately, he has been honing his skills in muffin making. In fact, my daughter and I call him the “muffin man.” He likes to experiment with different ingredients and has the ability to turn out masterful muffins.
Neither my daughter nor I particularly like breakfast foods, so muffins are pretty much staple fare for us. She eats her’s pared down, while I like mine made with oatmeal and virgin coconut oil. This morning I woke up to find a kitchen counter dressed with a dozen freshly baked muffins. Even though his bags were packed to leave for a business trip in a few hours, he didn’t want us to run out while he was gone.
Those muffins have become a labor of love. Seeing my 6’1″ husband baking in the kitchen with a towel slung over his shoulder as he hums a tune under his breath just gives me a case of the warm fuzzies. Oh yes, love is in the little things! Don’t get me wrong. I like the grand gestures too, but something about those muffins speaks love to me in a way that makes me feel nurtured, cared for and important.
Small acts of love build strong relationships. Essentially, small acts of love build a sense of trust and validation. The best illustration I have heard on this concept is the love bank. Banks are useful institutions that allow us to deposit and withdraw our money at will. Generally, we regard banks to be safe places. We trust them to guard and protect our money.
Now, let’s compare the two primary bank functions, deposit and witdrawal, to relationships. In this scenario, smaller acts of love represent deposits. Every time you extend yourself in some small way in a relationship, you make a deposit to the love bank. Every time my husband bakes those muffins or when I take the time to proofread one of his emails, we are making investments or deposits into each other’s love bank.
Now, we all know that relationships are hard work. Sometimes, our love is tried and tested. He comes home late without calling to let you know; you are too wrapped up in your television show to listen to his account of an awful business call; he forgets to pick up the milk after three texts to remind him and the list goes on. All of these instances represent withdrawals from the love bank.
Ah, herein lies the beauty of small love acts. As long as your account stays flush in love, your relationship stays strong. Why? Because there is enough love stored up to absorb the hurt and move on. The relationship only starts to suffer when the account is overdrawn; when there have not been enough love deposits.
It is always surprising when I see a couple call it quits after years of marriage. But, it’s not hard to see how it happens. Generally, young couples have read or heard enough stories to know that marriage is not easy; that it takes hard work and commitment to make it last.
But, something can happen with seasoned relationships. You both get so comfortable with each other that you figure your spouse knows how you feel, so what is the point of going the extra mile. Still, consistent, inevitable withdrawals occur when two separate people share life. However, without regular deposits of love, even small withdrawals can eventually erode the core of the relationship from the inside out until eventually, only the shell remains.
But there is good news! It is never too late to start depositing into the love bank. Here are some suggestions of places to start:
I could go on and on with this list, but it’s a good starting point. If you have been doing these things all along, your marriage is likely stronger than ever. If your love bank has long run dry, then it’s time to start making some deposits. Oh, and don’t worry if the deposits are only one-sided at first. When a person feels the love, they often respond in kind.
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