"It's the little things."

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If you're looking to transform a love relationship, bonding science suggests your best bet is honing in on little moments every day and making subtle additions: extend your goodbye kiss by a few seconds, hug until your bodies are relaxed when you return home at the end of the day, hold hands at the grocery store...

'Little' things are anything but little when it comes to bonding mammals in love. And to quote Richard Carlson, "You are what you practice most."

Think about your daily and evening routine. If it helps, physically write out a timeline. And I mean super detailed; e.g., 6am: we hear our alarm, 6:10am partner a gets up and makes coffee, then partner b gives kids first wake-up call, etc. Whatever happens between the time you wake and go to sleep. 

Now, identify where there are times that you're physically in the same space together. And, you know, not actively getting puked on by little ones or required to attend to something for safety. 

Together, make some agreements about moments you can capitalize on to add in some felt closeness and connection. For instance, if you're both in the kitchen doing different things, consciously add in a hug/kiss, or even something as simple as a hand on the small of a back. 

I know one couple who started to feel closer just by adding in a massive high-five passing in the hallway while wrangling a pack of children. 

Even if it's only 1 minute out of your whole day, x365 that's a solid 6 hours. The Gottman Institute found that lasting relationships that experience at least ~6 hours per week of quality connecting time, or what Stan Tatkin, founder of the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), would call "Couple Bubble." Relationships I work with in counseling frequently end up scheduling "weekly couple bubble time." 

Keys: it's got to be one-on-one, uninterrupted, and speak everyone's love languages. #GetASitter


It can also be useful when plotting out your routine to identify large windows of time when you're not together, and brainstorm ways to add in little experiences of connection; e.g., 5 minute phone call during lunch, blow a kiss with FaceTime between meetings, Snapchat. Technology continues to make this simpler and easier. 

Another benefit of focusing on little things daily for those with kiddos: you're modeling a healthy relationship grown with affection and closeness.

Give it a test run over the weekend!