Linda Lewis Griffith

Pampering: The art of mutual satisfaction

My husband brings me coffee in bed on the weekends and takes my car to the car wash when it’s dirty. I make sure he has a pitcher of fresh water on his nightstand every night and pack a lunch for him to take to work. These are a few of the oh-so-many ways that we pamper each other on a daily basis.

Pampering is the act of doing little extras for the sole purpose of pleasing a loved one. They’re not necessities, chores or responsibilities. They’re not included in your marital job description. Rather they’re tiny gestures that go beyond the call of duty and say “I support and adore you” in a very big way.

Both partners benefit from such behavior. Pampered partners feel cherished by their mates. Their needs and desires are happily addressed. Stress levels plummet. Recipients bask in the rays of the pamperers’ attentions, recognizing the sentiment infused into the simplest acts. And pamperers receive kudos for their efforts. They feel good about what they do.

Unfortunately, pampering can be as elusive as your waistline after two slices of pumpkin pie. Some couples rationalize that they’re too busy to engage in such pointless niceties.

“Our schedules are so hectic we’re seldom together. When we are, we’re just too exhausted.”

Others report they’re too angry at their mates to even consider doing anything thoughtful for them. Still others have never even considered coddling their sweeties.

The sad result is that these relationships are flat, devoid of tender caring. They’re not necessarily headed for divorce court, but they lack the subtle energy that permeates pampering partnerships and that gives them the vibrant aura of more appreciative unions.

Of course, pampering is a two-way street. It must be administered and received with equal amounts of caring and devotion. It never works when someone feels strong-armed into performing favors for another. One man confided to me, “My wife pouts for days if she thinks I’m not being nice enough to her. It makes me not want to treat her well because I feel like I’m being forced.”

It’s just as reprehensible to be blasé about someone’s pampering efforts. A woman I know goes all out to please her man but he continues to criticize her for the smallest perceived infraction.

Pampering should never be a bribe. Nor should it come with a hidden agenda. Rather, pampering should be initiated simply because you want to please your mate. You also know it will improve your relationship. There’s no downside to doing nice things.

If you’re the recipient of your lover’s pampering, express your pleasure loud and clear. Let them know you’re thrilled by their gestures. Wag your tail in enthusiastic appreciation. Say thank you often and mean it from the bottom of your pampered heart.

The best part about pampering? It starts an upward spiral of kindness in your relationship. You do something nice for your partner. He or she responds with an equally pleasant act. You repeat the process. Your spouse willingly follows suit. Soon you’re on a mutual quest to spoil the other person rotten, all because of a simple act to show how much you care.

Tips for pouring on the pampering

Want to be the world’s best pamperer? Follow these simple steps.

Decide what your partner likes. Notice what your loved one likes or needs, then jump in wherever you can. Neck rubs, candles next to the bathtub and unexpected chocolates can all make your sweetie feel special.

Make it fun. Pampering shouldn’t be a burden. That defeats the purpose for the behavior. Instead, keep the tone lighthearted and merry so that everyone has a good time.

Do it often, one tiny thing every day. Pampering has no limits.

Keep it small. Focus on the little things that bring a sparkle to your partner’s eyes. Sometimes the smallest acts can have the biggest impact.

Vary your activities. Be creative. Slip him a card in his briefcase one day. Turn back the sheets on his side of bed the next.

Pamper with no strings attached. Don’t expect any changes in your spouse. Do it because you want to. But I promise if both of you climb on the pampering bus, you’ll discover happiness you never thought possible.

Linda Lewis Griffith is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her visit lindalewisgriffith.com.

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