I've been compiling this list over the last few months. The sentiments below have been collected from female clients (I'm a dating coach!), friends, acquaintances, and family members, and one was taken from a memorable Boston Globe Magazine personal essay that has forever been burned in my brain. A few are from my own relationship with my darling husband.
Too many times I work with women who are focused on what I consider to be the wrong things when it comes to finding a partner and a relationship or women who put up with less-than-desirable behavior from guys they are dating. I also see women confuse lust for love or fantasize about love only in terms of expensive gifts, sweeping gestures, or grand moments (Hollywood romantic comedies, anyone?).
As I have discovered over the years on my own path to love and having witnessed the paths of those around me, love is about so much more than the big moments and gifts and celebrations - weddings, marriage proposals, engagement parties, birthdays, Valentine's Day, anniversary celebrations, and the like. The majority of the time, love is in the small, insignificant, private moments between two people, the moments that aren't on display for all to see, to ogle over.
So if you're single and dating, remind yourself that it's the small gestures and simple moments to be on the lookout for - it's the little things that mean a lot, as Kitty Kallen so memorably put it. If you're coupled, recognize and appreciate the seemingly insignificant moments between you and your partner, because that is where love truly lives.
1. Putting air in your car tires just to make sure they are safe as can be on the road
2. Offering you the last bite of something that is so magically delicious
3. Reminding you, despite the fact he is laid out in bed with the flu, to bring your glasses as you are headed out the door to go to a movie
4. Scouring the internet constantly for thoughtful gifts for your family members
5. Taking copious notes for you as you talk to the doctor at a pregnancy consultation appointment
6. Creating a chart outlining the various signs of ovulation and all the information about conceiving, because you have started to get confused and super anxious about the process
7. Exclaiming "Hey, beautiful" as he strokes your face while you're waiting in the emergency room to get help with extreme stomach pains that have rendered you completely helpless. (Note: The woman who told me this story said that when her then-boyfriend said this to her she knew at that moment this would be the man she married.)
8. Running out to CVS on a cold, rainy night to get a straightening iron because your old one broke right before a black-tie gala event
9. Holding your purse at the cancer clinic (took this one from the Boston Globe magazine essay -- Kleenex alert!)
10. Changing the litter box at your place, even though he's allergic to cats.
11. Getting to the airport before a stressful business trip, looking into your carry-on, and unexpectedly finding that he has packed your favorite snacks.
12. Racing over to an event you are hosting despite having a crazy day at work to help you set everything up before attendees arrive
13. Helping you put together a project for work through the wee hours of the morning
14. Buying you two large Starbucks iced teas every night so you have one to wake up to
15. Gently stroking your hair to lull you to sleep after you've been up all night vomiting
16. Telling you that you still look sexy even when you haven't shaved for days and grey hairs are threatening to take over your entire head
17. Tiptoeing into bed and making painstaking efforts to not rustle the covers so as to not awaken you from slumber
18. Putting on a brave face during your terrible bouts of flatulence
19. Bringing home an inexpensive, thoughtful gift not tied to a birthday or holiday but just because he thought you would like it
20. Scheduling a surprise massage for you when you've been stressed at work
21. Coming home a day early from his vacation because he can't wait to see you
22. Leaving a Post-it note on the door so you don't forget your pillow (because you are super picky about your pillows) for a weekend getaway
23. Waking up to a bouquet of beautiful flowers because he didn't get home until 4:00am from work but was still thinking of you
24. Leaving a flower in front of your apartment door just because
25. Grabbing your hand and just listening when you start to cry about something
Have examples of your own to add? Please do so in the comments below! Love is...
Neely Steinberg is a dating coach, style/image consultant, and founder of her multi-service dating coaching company, The Love TREP. Follow her on Facebook.