Pay It Forward in Your Relationship

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Do you ever pay it forward in your relationship? To do something for someone knowing you can never be repaid for it, that’s the intention behind true kindness and gestures of compassion. It always brings a smile and a warming of the heart whenever you see or hear of someone paying it forward for a total stranger. Have you ever done it or been on the receiving end? What about with your partner? 

I was thinking about some of the ways you can pay it forward in your relationship. There are always things we wish for, things we want to do, and sort of that bucket list of ‘want to’ things that we may or may not ever be able to accomplish for whatever reason. Do you know any of those things that your partner wishes for? You can have a conversation about this and get some ideas for ways to pay it forward, or, you can simply be spontaneous and fill a need or want that your partner expresses to you. 

Random acts of kindness can often be small things done with big love. Fold and put away your partner’s laundry for them, get (or cook) a favorite recipe or tasty dessert, bring home tickets to an event or slip a love note in a coat pocket. Compliment them sincerely.  Listen to your partner attentively, ask them how they’re feeling and do your best to remember the things they mention that are important to them. 

These kind gestures don’t need to be at the holidays, for a birthday, or anniversary necessarily. Kindnesses to your partner can (and should) be an everyday occurrence and have so much impact when they are allowed to happen spontaneously.  This requires you to be alert, listening, tuned into your partner in a deep emotional way so that you can respond immediately when you recognize an opportunity to pay it forward. What you want to do is something meaningful to them, and if you are going to be able to know what is meaningful, you can’t assume you know.  This means you and your partner have to be talking about the things that matter to you both. 

What is important enough for you to pay it forward in your relationship?   These random acts of kindness should appear to be unprompted but if you’re really listening and clued into your partner, you will find many ways to pay it forward in your relationship.  Your intention in paying it forward should never be to have them owe you anything in return, and never bring it up later as in ,” I did that thing for you one time, why won’t you do _____for me! “. You should never keep track of kindnesses done in order to use them later. The entire reason to do random acts of kindness or paying it forward is simply to do it! It feels good when we give unselfishly and make someone else happy. There should be more of it. 

When you pay it forward to a stranger you never hear about it again, but when you pay it forward in your relationship, you are stockpiling love and goodwill between the two of you. When you are kind, you promote love and kindness in the world; whether your world is a large social community or just you and your family. Kindness is never wasted. Even if you partner never knows that you were the one who did the kindness, you know you did it. You don’t even have to tell them it was you unless you really want to. 

I’d love to hear your comments about ways you pay it forward in your relationship, suggestions are welcome. 


About the Author:

Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.