While I’m certainly no relationship expert, I have learned over the last 4 years with my boyfriend that it is almost always rewarding to turn inward and sometimes be the one to make the first move.
It’s obvious that no relationship or marriage is perfect and life can get in the way of taking advantage of those small moments. But these are ultimately the times when we need our partner to lean in towards us most. I tend to show up in my relationship best when I’m the most aware of these moments, and I absolutely feel the love when my boyfriend does the same. This isn’t some kind of magical formula that happens overnight. It takes a certain understanding and awareness to step outside of ourselves and look to learning what our partner wants, needs, and strongly desires. But by that same token, we must also let ourselves be seen in the same light, no matter how big or small the interaction is.
Between my own experience and what I learned from my friends, here are 9 simple ways to make the first move in your relationship time and time again.
1. Wake up first and put on the coffee.
This may seem like something so small and simple, but starting your day with an act of thoughtfulness sets the tone for the day and benefits you both.
2. Connect through one tiny moment before your day begins.
Our days can be such a whirlwind, full of busy tasks and it’s easy to go about like a couple of roommates just trying to get ready in the morning. Say the words, “good morning, [insert cute pet name]”, start the day with a hug or kiss or anything small that subtly says, “I see you, I love you!”
3. Pay attention to the details when you’re communicating.
One thing I’ve had to learn in my relationship is active listening goes a long way. It’s just as important to be heard as it is to be seen.
4. Do one special thing that’s just for them.
Pick them up something on your grocery store run, send them an article you think they might enjoy reading, fold their pile of laundry (lol) or just do something out of your usual that reflects your appreciation for them.
5. If you don’t know what they need, don’t be afraid to ask.
If only we all could go through this life as mind readers, but we’re not! I find it particularly thoughtful when my boyfriend simply asks me, “Do you need anything done today that I can help with?” or “Can I do [X] for you?” I also feel pretty good about us when I can deliver on what he needs. If it’s not obvious, just ask!
7. Give your undivided attention (aka put the phone away).
If this is something you’ve already put in practice, kudos to you. I try to have phone downtime by 9pm when it’s “our” time. This means no social media or email scrolling. Not only do I enjoy the break, but it give us the chance to have quality time before bed, too.
8. Have the uncomfortable conversation.
This is one point where I can truly say I’ve had to work on improving… heavily. Don’t ignore your partner’s obvious emotions or feelings. If there is something that bothers them during their day, between the two of you or elsewhere make it known that you are there to talk whenever they are.
9. Be comfortable with them taking care of you.
Opening the door to let others care for us is sometimes harder than caring for people on your own, but it’s an act of love in itself to let someone actually be there for you.
Next time you think of turning away, even just for a second, remember to lean in to your partner instead. It’ll bring you closer and remind one another how it feels to make that first move each day.