14 People On The Tiny (But Powerful) Thing That Healed Their Broken Relationship


1. “I started saying ‘sorry’ every time I screwed something up, even if it was something really small and trivial. And I hated doing it at first and hated how it sounded coming out of my mouth, but within days she was doing the same thing and we were able to get over silly fights so much sooner.”

–Erik, 28

2. “I consciously tried to seem more present when we spent time together. It was simple things like suggesting we eat dinner at the table instead of on the couch and not answering work emails on the weekend. It brought us a lot closer.”

–Elisa, 31

3. “Compliments. Genuine, out-of-the-blue, sweet compliments. Especially if we were in the middle of a ‘not talking to each other’ fight. We both started doing it and it changed a lot.”

–Terri, 26

4. “I started leaving her a post-it note on the mirror every day before I left for work (she doesn’t have to leave for work until an hour after me, so she was never up). It was mostly just nice, little notes but it forced me to slow down and tell her things I wouldn’t normally tell her and I think it made her feel very loved and appreciated after not feeling that way for some time.”

–Theo, 33

5. “Straight up telling him when he’s done something to upset me instead of being passive-aggressive. Basically I learned that all those other times I thought he was purposely ignoring my feelings, he just had no clue I was even upset.”

–Kari, 27

6. “We do a date-night now, every week, always on Tuesday because it’s such an easy day to ensure we never have any other plans. We both look so forward to it now because we do movies, comedy shows, holiday stuff in the winter, or just a dinner at a restaurant we’ve been eyeing for a while. It’s a great way to have quality time together and to ‘schedule it in’ without feeling weird about scheduling a date with your spouse.”

–Dominic, 35

7. “Talking. At some point we stopped talking to each other. Not literally. We would still say good morning and talk about upcoming plans and day to day stuff, but we stopped talking to each other the way we did when we first fell in love. It was all the cheesy stuff, but stuff we learned is so crucial to a relationship – sharing your dreams, worries, insecurities. We finally started doing that again and it changed everything between us.”

–Cobi, 32

8. “Asking for help. We’ve both started speaking up when we need it. Help around the house, help with the kids, help with work, and especially help with stuff that’s bothering us (stress, worries at work, anxiety, that stuff).”

–Jeremy, 38

9. “Putting our phones away before bed and spending a few quiet minutes together before we fall asleep.”

–Tami, 32

10. “Giving ourselves permission to feel like individuals again. I don’t know when it happened but we became just ‘a couple’ and sort of lost our sense of ourselves along the way. So we’ve both made an effort again to spend time alone, develop our hobbies again, go out with friends without each other.”

–Janelle, 29

11. “Making sure we still have a relationship with each other that has nothing to do with our kids. It got really easy the last 3-4 years to make it all about them, and that’s what we did. So now we’re forcing ourselves to hire a babysitter and go out alone every couple of weeks, even if we’re totally exhausted. It’s really starting to make a difference.”

–Ainsley, 37

12. “Couples counseling. I used to think it was a last-resort thing and a major sign that the marriage was in trouble, but I’ve learned a ton of happy couples do it, including (now) us.”

–Craig, 31

13. “Learning to be okay with being wrong.”

–Sammi, 26

14. “Saying ‘I love you’ at random, unexpected moments, sometimes in the middle of fights. She started it and now we both do it and it’s our favorite thing.”

–Henry, 28 Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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