What really makes us happy with our significant others?
If you were to scan through online dating profiles or peruse Match.com's Singles in America survey, you'd find everyone is looking for the same major traits: intelligence, humor and confidence. But does a good set of jokes and a well-rounded reading list sustain a relationship through the ups and downs? Months, years or even decades in, what do we really need from a partner to keep the spark alive?
It might come down to those little, important details we all want but might not ever put into words. Relationships are the healthiest and happiest when they're full of mutual kindness and generosity, research has shown. "Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated — feel loved," Emily Esfahani Smith wrote about it in the Atlantic.
So Mic conducted a survey of over 1,500 people via Google Consumer Surveys, a Google form and Tumblr submissions to uncover the seemingly insignificant things that our significant others do that make us happy. It's the little things that count.
"He works night shifts and usually gets back around the time I am waking up to go to work. Without fail, I can always find a cup of tea made just the way I like in his hands as he wakes me up. It is the best way to wake up in the morning."
"She reads me news articles in bed (in the morning) while I'm waking up (she is a morning person and I am definitely not)."
"When I have to get up for work before she wakes up, I return home to find my bed made, occasionally with a little note. Gives me a smile every time."
"On the weekend, I would sleep in and he would wake up early and play some video games and make breakfast. I would always wake up to the smell of homemade waffles and bacon, and he would come in, cuddle next to me and whisper 'Babe, breakfast is ready.'"
"Every morning I get a sweet quote from her to start my day."
"When we are both already in bed, he offers to be the one to get up and get me a glass of water to put on my nightstand."
"When I block him in the driveway with my car, he gets up earlier than he has to to move our cars around so I can sleep in while he goes to work!"
"Every so often, my boyfriend makes me a hand-drawn Valentine with a clever, personal joke and mails it to me at work."
"My boyfriend plays Duolingo in the bath to learn Spanish for my parents, who are native speakers. Hearing the little chime makes me so thankful for him."
"Coming home to discover that he let himself into my house just to clean it up for me, so that I don't have to when I get home. He never tells me and is back at his house by the time I realize what he's done."
"Last night, I was having a really difficult time with my depression, so my fiance ran out and bought me some beautiful lilies to cheer me up. He always goes out of his way to buy me special things I never ask for when I get really depressed, like my favorite flowers, turtle chocolate clusters, or a mocha frappe from McDonald's. It's not much, but it makes all the difference to me."
"My fiance is in the military and spends months at a time in other countries. When he's home he makes a point to do the wash, shopping, cleaning and household chores that I'm left to do alone while he's gone."
"Sends me Snapchats of herself making ugly faces."
"Places her iPhone in her bag during brunch/lunch/dinner."
"My GF and I are in a long-distance relationship and have been for some time now, and I have to say, a 'good morning' text makes me the happiest person in the world."
"Sends me Snapchats of our cat when I'm at work or school to cheer me up."
"I travel a lot for work so when I'm gone my partner will send me text messages as though our pup, Zooey, is writing them. Its really sweet because he also sends pictures of her and it makes me laugh and feel genuinely missed by both of them."
"She'll randomly send me a text that will need a good five minutes to read telling me why and how much she loves me."
"He calls me, because cell phones can do that, too."
"Buys me little candy surprises when she is shopping at our favorite markets/stores without me."
"When we're in Walmart, getting my favorite Ben & Jerry's Ice cream, Chunky Monkey, she opens the freezer door and writes our initials inside of the cutest (lopsided) heart."
"My boyfriend always buys me Sour Patch Kids when I have a rough day, or he's proud of me."
"Dudefriend (aka the BF) makes me grilled cheese sandwiches from time to time. I remember this time after we... got busy, he made me one around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. We then finished a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle together."
"Surprises me with an iced coffee from time to time (and knows my order!)"
"Always lets me eat the last bite of ice cream."
"Buys my favorite flavored coconut water when I am drunk, to help with my hangover the next morning."
"Brings me coffee in bed."
"Starts randomly dancing in the living room to the most random songs. It's a spontaneous dance party! Gets me every time."
"Tells me I'm beautiful."
"Whenever I'm feeling sad, she always talks to me in song, like she makes up a silly tune to what she's trying to tell me. Like, "Stop worrying, you're amazing!" and things like that. Six years ago she didn't appreciate musicals, and now she sings to me."
"He asks me to explain to him what I learned in my classes that day. I like that because he cares and because he knows that I like teaching/talking about school."
"When my boyfriend hugs me, he first puts one arm around my lower body and then one around my upper. He puts his head in my shoulder, sighs deeply, tightens the hug and whispers my name. I can feel him physically relaxing and smiling into my shoulder."
"Honestly it's the little things like asking me about my day and telling me I'm beautiful when I have circles under my eyes from exhaustion and no make up on."
"Every single night, we tell each other 'Goodnight, sweet dreams, I'll talk to you tomorrow.' It's small and dumb, but it's like saying 'I love you' for two people who otherwise don't know how to say it."
"Holds my hand."