Start at the beginning. In 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 it says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This verse is a great place to start. When we appreciate God’s love for us, we can better understand how we deserve to be loved by others.
Pope Francis speaks often about love, and when he visited the United States at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, he said, “Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches.” So whether you are in a relationship or not, here is a list of little things to remember as you persevere in your lives.
- Stay Positive. Smiles do magical things for someone who has had a bad day. Saying “Hello” can shift a person’s frame of mind and boost their mood.
- Patience. Patience is not my most redeeming quality, so I pray that my patience increases. Having patience with one another is crucial to any relationship.
- Travel Together. Traveling with your closest friends can be a chance to spend time together outside of everyday routine.
- Honesty. It really is the best policy. Always strive to be honest in your relationships. No matter how tiny the white lie may seem at the time. Dishonesty results in the loss of trust. Honesty should be high in our priorities in friendships and relationships.
- Prayers. I try to pray for my relationship with my boyfriend every day. In addition to being thankful for what I have, I also pray for the future of my relationship.
- Laughter. Every day, anytime you can: laugh.
- Attend Mass. My boyfriend and I go to Mass together on Sundays and are parishioners at the same Church, along with other close friends and community members. Regular attendance in Mass keeps my boyfriend and I in a similar direction for the week.
- Cook. Taking turns cooking or making a dinner for friends and loved ones can be a great way to show love and experience community together. Cooking also gives me and my boyfriend a chance to communicate and experiment with foods and recipes.
- Give Encouragement. Saying, “Good luck!” for something like an interview can be one of the easiest ways to show someone you care.
- Forgive and Accept Forgiveness. This is hard. I find that admitting when I’m wrong is one of the hardest things to do when you have wronged someone, but it’s necessary for healthy relationships. Forgiving others for breaking plans or miscommunication are good skills to have.
For all of you who are dating, see if you are incorporating these tips into your relationship. If not, give some of them a try. For those of you reading this who are not in relationships, some of these tips can really help friendships and even relationships down the road. I’ve found that with patience and effort, the little things will amount to bigger memories. In the meantime, it’s the little things that make a relationship resilient. The “I love you!”s and the laughter can be the little things that take the day-to-day interactions and turn them into months and years spending time with someone you care about.
For resources on Marriage and Family, please click here.