A lot of people predicted the pandemic would either result in a spike in divorces or an uptick in 2021 babies.
After spending every waking and sleeping hour with my wife over the last 8 months, below are 7 ideas that can help you to maybe accomplish the latter. Worst case, they’ll at least make your partner smile or possibly laugh a little.
1. Use email the right way.
My wife was working in the family room. I was working on our bed. It was a Monday. I was ratting off work emails when something dawned on me — “Email is awful. Why not send some messages people like to read to give them a break?”
17 seconds after sending the message — “You’re the hottest person I’ve seen today!” a loud “Awwwww” shook our small apartment. Three seconds later, I heard footsteps.
2. Use Alexa the right way.
Imagine it’s Tuesday morning. It’s raining outside. All of a sudden the song you loved when you first met comes on the family room speakers.
Maybe you’d smile and keep working. Or maybe you’d dance a little. If even for five minutes before getting back to work.
3. Use screensavers the right way.
Break into your partner's computer. Upload the worst possible picture you can find of yourself. Post a sticky note on it that reads “Feeling lucky?”
Maybe it doesn’t lead to candles. But maybe you get a laugh. And sometimes, on a cloudy Wednesday, that’s the best you can hope for.
4. Use sick days the right way.
“Every day’s the same. I don’t know the difference between Thursday and my left foot.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people say this of late.
If you can, take a random sick day. Hide your phones. Line up a series you’ve been wanting to watch. Eat breakfast food for lunch. Sometimes the best way to keep your relationship tight is by giving yourselves permission to do nothing at all.
5. Celebrate meetings the right way.
Your partner has a 3-hour Zoom presentation to sit through. They are not excited. Order some lunch to arrive 15 minutes after the meeting is supposed to be over. Act surprised — “Who could that be?” “Are you expecting someone?”
Here in Spain, restaurants are closed. We can’t leave our small town. Take the $15 you’d normally spend at Happy Hour and order lunch on a Friday so they don’t have to make anything. It’s a small gesture. They’ll appreciate it.
6. Deliver tea the right way.
After 4 hours they’re still sitting in front of their computer. It’s supposed to be Saturday, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. One leg is now under the other. Besides that, nothing’s changed. Breakfast is still out on the table they are working on. Their shoulders may be a bit lower.
Act like you’re getting a glass of water or a cup of tea. Don’t ask them if they want one. When it’s ready, put it by their place while they’re on the phone and walk away. Footsteps will eventually follow.
7. Use chalkboards the right way.
Grocery lists are boring. Dinosaurs with proportionately larger heads than normal are kinda cool. Little messages that your 2 and 6-year-old kids can’t understand are seriously fun.
Little notes should be scattered around your house in both obvious and not so obvious places. The same goes for leaving messages on your kitchen chalkboard. You can even rearrange the alphabet magnets you have on your fridge into a thoughtful message. It’s hard not to smile when you see the words “What makes your toes curl?” while getting out the pesto sauce on a Sunday afternoon.
If trends continue, the odds are high that the first half of 2021 will look a lot like the last half of this year. If you want your relationship to last, mix things up. Lean into the little things. Choose to see it as the ultimate test in creativity.
How can I make my partner smile or even laugh a little?
You never know what something like a glass of water can mean to someone.