Relationships take time. And they take effort. If we expect an existing relationship to last, or would like a new one to become more than “casual”, then we must put forth the effort to let them know that we want to do what we can, indeed, if not all we can, to ensure their happiness, now and in the future.
Beyond simply being attentive, we need to understand them, how they work, play, what puts them at peace, and figure out how to become a part of that peace. Few things let our significant others know we are serious about “us” more than taking the time to learn about, and then supporting them!
In “the Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck, M.D. (in my humble opinion, a great read), he states in a chapter titled “The Work of Attention”: “Love is a… work or courage directed toward the nurture of our own or another’s spiritual growth.” He goes on to say, “When we love another we give him or her our attention; we attend to that person’s growth.”
There are a myriad of ways in which we can show we care, but taking the time to understand our partners can not only be insightful (if we don’t already know), but a great way to ensure we include their likes in our plans for time together. If you know they have a particular interest in sports (merely an example), even if you don’t share the interest, ask them how the game went, and be attentive to the response. Even if it’s not your favorite thing to do, taking the time to show an interest will definitely impress upon them your desire for them to enjoy -whatever- activity.
Don’t be afraid to participate in their interests! Even if you don’t have a knack for it, it can be fun trying. And if you aren’t good at it, don’t let that keep you from trying. They will appreciate the time spent, and if the results happen to be disastrous -as long as no one gets hurt- you’ll have something to laugh about in the future (it is okay not to be the best at everything, and your partner might appreciate the show of humility too!)
Going the extra mile means more than just bringing home flowers, or having dinner ready when they arrive. It also means, that like “it” (whatever that may be) or not, you’re willing to -if nothing else- listen to their interest(s) in said activity/function, and appreciate the joy they find in it! We don’t have to like 100% of what makes them happy, we just have to pay enough attention to them to know what that 100% is.
Compatibility with another doesn’t necessarily mean having everything in common (though it’s nice if and/or when you do find that one in a billion) it means also being accepting of those things that make us all unique individuals! As long as the connections are made, maintaining a mutual understanding, along with mutual respect can go a long way towards bridging the gap(s) between any distance(s).