06:00 AM

Ten small ways to invest in your relationship

By Anne Chambers

Being in a relationship is important to many of us. An estimated 40 million people use online dating services, and there are more than 2 million marriages per year in America.

Ups and downs in relationships are natural, with money ranking as the No. 1 argument in relationships. However, difficult times in relationships can be draining. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the marriage rate is 6.8 per thousand members of the population, but the divorce rate is 3.6. 

As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us consider large gestures to show affection. In the long run, small gestures matter day by day, year by year. Here are 10 small ways to invest in your relationship: 

1. For long term couples, remember to speak highly to and of your significant other and do so consistently.    

2. Spend time together. Having common interests and trying new activities together can be helpful. 

3. Date your mate. If you have young children, invest in time alone. Get a sitter once a month.  

4. Pay attention to the little things, such as hugs, holding hands, or going for walks together. 

5. Remember and reminisce. Remember how you knew you were in love, what drew you to that special person, or what you admire about him or her. Share those memories with your significant other. Share with him or her a few of the reasons your love and respect for them has grown over time.  

6. Call, email, or text to say “I love you,” or write your special person a thoughtful letter or card.  

7. Comment about what is wonderful and unique about your significant other or what you love about him or her.

8. Show care for his or her well-being, such as waiting for him or her at the doctor’s office. 

9. Seek and build common ground around money management and parenting, which are common sources of disagreement.    

10. Notice and compliment his or her efforts. 

Anne Chambers is the director of the Missouri Lawyers' Assistance Program. She received her Master's degree in social work from Louisiana State University in 1990. She has been licensed in clinical social work in Missouri since 1992.