The small things matter most.
What does it mean to be a “good boyfriend”?
Or husband, for that matter.
Most times, it comes down to the simple things. The ways that we listen, pay attention to detail, remember important things, and make the woman in our lives feel about herself, the relationship, and us.
Here are 30 small, everyday, often-overlooked things that can make a big statement in showing that you care.
1: Sew your wild oats FIRST.
Yep — The most important piece of this is what happens before you get into the relationship.
If you commit to someone while you’re still unsure about what you want in life, or where you want to be, or what type of partner you really want to be with, you run a serious risk of leading someone down a path of inevitable heartbreak.
It’s our responsibility as men and as individuals to do the exploring that we want to do while we have the chance to do it. This way, you’ll be able to fully commit to the right person when they come along.
2: Be fully present when you’re together.
Life is full of distractions. Work emails, Instagram notifications, hobbies, chores, family, friends — take regular time to really connect with her and shut out all of life’s noise. Your relationship will be stronger for it.
3: Learn her signs.
Not whether she’s an Aries or a Gemini — but the signs she gives you when she wants (or doesn’t want) something.
Does she want to be left alone when she’s quiet? Leave her alone.
Does she need a hug when she pushes herself close to you? Give her a hug.
Does she just want to vent when she says “You know what really bugs me?” Be quiet and let her vent.
Everyone is different, and putting in the effort to understanding what she means by what she doesn’t say will help you live in better harmony.
4: Give more precise compliments.
Evolve beyond the standard “you so sexy” and let her know that you notice the meaningful things.
“I really respect how you handled that conflict with your mom.”
“You’re doing a great job with the kids.”
“That project you did for work came out amazing.”
The more specific you can be, the more she’ll know and feel that you appreciate her and what she does.
5: Give her a break.
Are there things she regularly does around the house that take up a lot of time or energy? Step in and give her the night off.
Does her car need an oil change? Make the appointment and bring it down yourself (or, do it yourself if that’s your thing).
Do the kids need to be picked up but she’s swamped with work? Let her stay focused and go get them.
Be the guy who works to make her life easier without her having to ask.
6: Stay true to your word.
7: Remember all of the reasons why you fell in love in the first place.
You’re going to have disagreements, arguments, and conflicts. During the times when you’re most frustrated, train yourself to remember all of the reasons why you’re in this relationship to begin with.
8: NEVER weaponize her insecurities.
Part of a relationship is trusting your partner with your deepest secrets, desires and fears. Using those very things against them is unacceptable and abusive.
9: Do the things she likes.
Watch the shows or movies. Walk through the park when you’d rather be sitting at home. Go shopping if she asks you. Sharing in the normalcy in life can sometimes bring the best memories.
10: Learn to frame your grievances properly.
You’re a human too, and therefore will have your own frustrations and complaints at some point during your life.
Effectively communicating these points is the key to being heard rather than starting a fight.
Instead of “Your actions make me upset” try something closer to “I feel ABC way during the times that we XYZ.”
Make it clear that this is about how you are feeling, and that it’s not a personal jab towards her.
11: Keep her happy intimately.
Everyone knows that healthy intimacy is a cornerstone to every happy relationship — but everyone feels and absorbs intimacy differently.
Learn what it means for her, and do more of that.
12: Be openly grateful.
Never take a good woman for granted. Someday, someone will come along and appreciate what you chose not to.
13: Be more flirty.
You’re intimate partners, not roommates.
14: Stay consistent.
Consistently trustworthy, consistently respectful, consistently authentic.
15: Be the one who decides.
We’ve all been in the “I don’t know, what do youwant to do?” revolving conversation.
Be the one who finally makes a decision about what you’re going to do. And, if it’s something that you know is important to her, know when to let her decide.
16: Encourage her to take “me time.”
Wanting to do something special for her is nice, but making sure it’s what she wants is the important part of it.
Maybe she needs a night out with the girls, or by herself, or a day at the spa, or just an hour to breathe and think.
Giving that to her will mean more than any material gift you could give.
17: Learn her love languages.
Knowing the way(s) that she receives love is paramount to giving it to her properly.
Acts of service.
Words of affirmation.
If you don’t know which of these she most deeply resonates with, now would be a good time to ask.
18: Stay fit and healthy.
Being in a relationship or marriage isn’t an excuse to let go of your health or appearance.
She still wants you to be attractive, and she still wants you to be alive.
19: Be on her side.
As long as she’s not proposing something harmful or dangerous, being in a relationship means being part of a team, and being part of a team means working together.
20: Practice patience.
No productive conversations happen when either or both people are wound up and irrational.
21: Send “I love you” texts.
Or leave notes — whatever your style. The idea is to make her smile and remind her how you feel as often as possible.
22: Stop trying to solve her problems.
Unless she specifically asks you for a solution, her venting to you is most likely just that — her venting to you. She just wants an outlet and support while she gets it off her chest and figures it out herself.
If she does ask you for direct advice or help, though, that’s when you get to work.
23: Acknowledge your own faults.
Failing to do so can make us defensive and combative if she brings up something that we don’t like to hear — but is actually true.
Self-awareness is our own defense against defensiveness.
24: Look for solutions, not arguments.
Remember that you should be two people working together towards a common goal, not two people pitted against each other.
The point of an “argument” is to find a solution that works for you both. Not to be “the winner.”
25: Allow all feelings to be validated.
Yours, hers, everything in between.
Be accepting of what you are feeling (and stop ignoring emotions).
Be accepting of what she is feeling (and stop minimizing her emotions).
If you do more of this, you’ll both be better off.
26: Plan a date.
When was the last time you spent a romantic night alone, just the two of you? Even for a couple of hours?
If you’re married or in a relationship with kids, this type of alone time can be more difficult to come by.
Make sure you carve out the time for you as a couple. That, at the end of the day, is the core of the life you’re both building together, and it must remain strong.
27: Check in with her more.
Ask how she’s feeling. What’s making her happy? What’s making her stressed? What can you do to be a better partner? How can you make her life easier today?
Sometimes, just knowing that you’re willing to ask the question is all that she needs.
28: Go with the flow.
Life throws all of us curveballs, especially when you’re merging two (or more) lives together into one.
You will avoid a lot of stress and conflict if you willingly accept this and ride the wave.
29: Maintain your own passions and hobbies.
What are some of the things that attracted her to you when you first met?
What were your passions, interests, and hobbies?
Are you still doing those things, or have you given them up?
Having your own identity within the relationship is a key piece of maintaining attraction and autonomy. No woman wants to be with a blob who molds itself into whatever she chooses for it.
30: Love, accept, and embrace her for who she is.
Most of us, at the end of the day, just want one simple thing: To be loved for who we truly are.
The most important thing you can ever do for someone is see them in ways that nobody else ever has.
That’s how you love them in ways that nobody else ever did.
That’s how you recognize their inner beauty and see all of the things that make them unique.
That’s how you build gratitude for what they bring to your life.
That’s how you learn the best ways to make herhappy as an individual.
That’s how she feels fully comfortable and open being her truest self around you.
The safety, comfort, and certainty that comes along with knowing you love her is the most valuable gift you can ever give.
That’s how you feel like home.
Joseph A. Cornacchia