Marriage expert John Gottman can sit with newly engaged couples for 15 minutes or less and predict with 94% success the likelihood of whether that couple will be happily married or miserable and divorced.
What is his secret?
How does he do it?
He says the key to relationship success does not lie in candlelight dinners.
It is not found in trips to Paris or horse and carriage rides under moonlit skies.
It is not found in getting your partner a different gift every other week.
And it is not found during long walks on the beach.
Gottman says the most important factor for a happy marriage is attention.
Small moments of positive attention.
When I heard this I thought about my mom.
See, when I was six she told me that it was the little things that make the big difference.
And as I look back on my parent's failed marriage, I see that it was those little things that eventually became non-existent.
And if you're watching this now then I know it sounds reminiscent cause it is all too common today on this planet that we take each other for granted.
We don't know what we have until it's gone.
We lose touch with those who mean so much by neglecting the things that are so small.
Now look, if you want a book a limousine with a mariachi band inside to take your sweetheart on a helicopter ride, that's fine.
But I have to mention, none of that compares to giving your consistent, undivided time and attention.
Because lasting love, as Gottman said, is all about the small stuff.
It's about looking to your partner and telling them, "I love the way your hair looks in the morning."
It's about sending a random "I miss you" text to tell them that they're in your heart and on your mind.
It's about when they call you during the day, does your voice light up like a dream come true?
Or does your tone sound like you've got better, more important things to do?
It's about choosing praise over blame.
It's about holding the hand when you know they are afraid and you might be too, but you say, "I'm here. It's gonna be okay."
It's about pressing pause on your favorite show so they can tell you about their day.
It's about making up funny nicknames.
It's about complimenting a new hairstyle.
It's about notice in the funny way their lips curl up when they smile.
It's about the simple things like remembering that no matter how hard it gets or how much you argue, you're on the same team.
It's about the simple bliss of watching a movie cuddled up in the bed.
It's the gentle kiss right on the forehead.
It's about the eye contact at the breakfast table where due to the light hitting them at a certain angle, you notice a different shade or texture of their eyes.
It's about those tight hugs from behind.
It's about choosing to be kind instead of right all the time.
It's the small gestures to show them they are truly treasured.
It's not about the fancy dress up dance clubs because slow dancing in the kitchen wearing sweatpants is way better.
It's about being weirdos together.
It ain't always about making the heart melt.
It's about getting them a glass of water when you get one for yourself.
And yes, I realize that with so many extravagant celebrity weddings for some people this may sound like trash.
But if your partner doesn't feel seen, appreciated, or listened to without fear of judgement, then what kind of partnership do you have?
It is said that three billion people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight.
And there are 4 billion who will go to bed hungry for a single word of love and appreciation.
If you have a malnourished partner, loved one, or friend, then please listen.
I want you to feed them small acts of love and attention, and now is a good time to start because it truly is the small moments of our lives that take up the biggest part of our hearts.