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Love is Not In The Little Things

by | February 17, 2018

I read so many quotes, like the ones pictured in the memes below, that talk about how love is in the little things. Or, how the little things are proof of love and evidence of why you should stay with your partner. Although the little things are important and make love sweeter, people often place more importance on them than they deserve, and get side-tracked from what really matters.

You know the little things they’re talking about. The little things like the way he (or she) sweetly places the linen napkin on your lap when the two of you are out to dinner. The way he remembers exactly how you like your Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, Sugar-Free Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip coffee from Starbucks after hearing you order it the first time. The way he always offers you the bigger piece of cake every time the two of you share dessert. The way he is able to recall your beloved childhood dog’s name that you had mentioned months ago on your first date. The yellow sticky notes he leaves hidden in your purse or laptop computer telling you how much he loves you. The way he never fails to help you put your coat on even though you can do it yourself. Or, the way he posts gushy, lovey-dovey comments about how much he loves you on social media.

I’m here to tell you that all the sweet and caring gestures are not what love is about. You can’t measure love by the sum of sweet gestures. Love, real love, is not in the details. The little things don’t prove love. They only augment and compliment love. The little things are wonderful and important, but they do not equal love.

I’ll tell you why.

The sweet gestures are thoughtful, but let’s face it, they’re easy. Love, on the other hand, takes effort and is hard work. In my opinion, love is in the big things. Love is compromising when you don’t want to. It’s the ability to put someone else’s needs above your own. It’s fighting fair when bringing up the past could score you a win. It’s being there for your partner during the tough, messy times. It’s honoring your commitments and your word. It’s unwavering loyalty and devotion. It’s not sweating the small stuff and nagging your partner about toothpaste caps and water spots on the counter. It’s not having to always be right or have the last word. It’s being able to set aside your pride and apologize when you’re wrong. It’s taking responsibility for your actions. It’s risking being vulnerable. It’s wanting the best for your partner and supporting their goals and dreams. It’s building your partner up and being their soft place to fall.

In the absence of the big things, the little things are meaningless. They are just pomp and circumstance. Toxic people and con artists are masters at fooling and distracting people from focusing on the things that matter with showy displays of sweet but easy and relatively effortless gestures. Don’t be blinded by little gestures. Don’t let the little things help you justify staying in the relationship when he’s failing to deliver on the big things. Don’t be so distracted by all the little things that you pardon the hard stuff. Don’t be misled into believing that he (or she) has what it takes to be a good, life-long partner because he remembers your favorite color or records your favorite show when you’re not home. Those little things may be thoughtful, but when the big things are missing or deficient, the little things become a bunch of romantic hyperbole. The steady, unfaltering presence of the big things is what makes the little things meaningful and genuine.

The single most important choice you will ever make that will directly affect your mental and physical health, and ultimately your future happiness is who you choose as your mate. So, look for the big gestures. Look for effort over quick and easy actions. Look for the stuff that demonstrates character rather than romance. Find someone who remembers to fight fair, and fights for your relationship when things get heated. Someone who will be there for the long haul and will have your back during difficult times. Someone who you can depend on and treats you as a priority, consistently. Someone who places the health of the relationship above their own needs or ego. The little things surely make love sweeter but they’re not what’s going to carry a relationship or bring you contentment in the long run.

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A LITTLE ABOUT ME

Bree Bonchay, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist with over 18 years of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships. Her articles have been featured in major online magazines and she has appeared on radio as a guest expert.
She is a dedicated advocate, educator and facilitates survivor support groups and workshops.

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I read so many quotes, like the ones pictured in the memes below, that talk about how love is in the little things. Or, how the little things are proof of love and evidence of why you should stay with your partner. Although the little things are important and make love sweeter, people often place more importance on them than they deserve, and get side-tracked from what really matters.

You know the little things they’re talking about. The little things like the way he (or she) sweetly places the linen napkin on your lap when the two of you are out to dinner. The way he remembers exactly how you like your Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, Sugar-Free Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip coffee from Starbucks after hearing you order it the first time. The way he always offers you the bigger piece of cake every time the two of you share dessert. The way he is able to recall your beloved childhood dog’s name that you had mentioned months ago on your first date. The yellow sticky notes he leaves hidden in your purse or laptop computer telling you how much he loves you. The way he never fails to help you put your coat on even though you can do it yourself. Or, the way he posts gushy, lovey-dovey comments about how much he loves you on social media.

I’m here to tell you that all the sweet and caring gestures are not what love is about. You can’t measure love by the sum of sweet gestures. Love, real love, is not in the details. The little things don’t prove love. They only augment and compliment love. The little things are wonderful and important, but they do not equal love.

I’ll tell you why.

The sweet gestures are thoughtful, but let’s face it, they’re easy. Love, on the other hand, takes effort and is hard work. In my opinion, love is in the big things. Love is compromising when you don’t want to. It’s the ability to put someone else’s needs above your own. It’s fighting fair when bringing up the past could score you a win. It’s being there for your partner during the tough, messy times. It’s honoring your commitments and your word. It’s unwavering loyalty and devotion. It’s not sweating the small stuff and nagging your partner about toothpaste caps and water spots on the counter. It’s not having to always be right or have the last word. It’s being able to set aside your pride and apologize when you’re wrong. It’s taking responsibility for your actions. It’s risking being vulnerable. It’s wanting the best for your partner and supporting their goals and dreams. It’s building your partner up and being their soft place to fall.

In the absence of the big things, the little things are meaningless. They are just pomp and circumstance. Toxic people and con artists are masters at fooling and distracting people from focusing on the things that matter with showy displays of sweet but easy and relatively effortless gestures. Don’t be blinded by little gestures. Don’t let the little things help you justify staying in the relationship when he’s failing to deliver on the big things. Don’t be so distracted by all the little things that you pardon the hard stuff. Don’t be misled into believing that he (or she) has what it takes to be a good, life-long partner because he remembers your favorite color or records your favorite show when you’re not home. Those little things may be thoughtful, but when the big things are missing or deficient, the little things become a bunch of romantic hyperbole. The steady, unfaltering presence of the big things is what makes the little things meaningful and genuine.

The single most important choice you will ever make that will directly affect your mental and physical health, and ultimately your future happiness is who you choose as your mate. So, look for the big gestures. Look for effort over quick and easy actions. Look for the stuff that demonstrates character rather than romance. Find someone who remembers to fight fair, and fights for your relationship when things get heated. Someone who will be there for the long haul and will have your back during difficult times. Someone who you can depend on and treats you as a priority, consistently. Someone who places the health of the relationship above their own needs or ego. The little things surely make love sweeter but they’re not what’s going to carry a relationship or bring you contentment in the long run.

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Get the book

‘I Am Free” is both a cautionary warning and illuminating light. It empowers readers dealing with the aftermath of a toxic relationship and serves as a wake-up call to those who are in-or think they may be in- an abusive relationship with a narcissists or sociopath.

Get the book

‘I Am Free” is both a cautionary warning and illuminating light. It empowers readers dealing with the aftermath of a toxic relationship and serves as a wake-up call to those who are in-or think they may be in- an abusive relationship with a narcissists or sociopath.

About me

Bree Bonchay, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist with two decades of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about narcissistic personality disorder and psychopathy in her blog, FreeFromToxic. She is the author of the book, “I Am Free” and has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a board member of the Association for NPD/Psychopathy Educators & Survivor Treatment, a member of the International Association of Trauma Specialists, and is also the founder of WNAAD.

About me

Bree Bonchay, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist with two decades of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about narcissistic personality disorder and psychopathy in her blog, FreeFromToxic. She is the author of the book, “I Am Free” and has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a board member of the Association for NPD/Psychopathy Educators & Survivor Treatment, a member of the International Association of Trauma Specialists, and is also the founder of WNAAD.

1 Comment

  1. Remembering Lives

    Fantastic advice Bree. Yes the little things are nice but if somebody is not there in a crisis, those small gestures are ultimately meaningless.

    Reply

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