Our family recently visited my dad who, at the age of 88, still loves to play games.
He gave a wide grin as he pulled the dominoes out of his game closet and dumped them with a loud crash onto his dining room table.
After playing several hands of Chicken Scratch, I picked up a few dominoes and began stacking them on end, one after the other. My sisters and daughters joined in and we quickly formed an elaborate maze of dominoes in the shape of an elongated spiral.
As I put the last domino into place, my ornery dad gave a tap to the first domino setting off a chain reaction of clattering and clanging that lasted for several seconds.
We all burst into the giggles, scolded dad and set them up again, arguing over the design we would make this time.
It is a simple, but delightful reminder of the joy of creating and initiating together a family work of art.
As I pondered over this experience and the ensuing memories it evoked, it reminded me of the power of initiating the domino effect in our relationships with our partners.
It starts with an intention that has a vision of a great marriage.
It is often small, such as bringing your partner a steamy cup of coffee while he or she is getting ready in the morning, giving your spouse some “chill” time at the end of the day, bringing home his or her favorite ice cream for an evening treat, offering to bathe kids and put them in bed, or a soft kiss on the forehead as you pass by your love.
Little acts of kindness put emotional money in the savings account of your lover’s soul that often elicit acts of kindness in return, creating a domino effect of joy and connection.
So here’s my challenge.
Make April your Domino Challenge month by choosing ten acts of kindness to enact to improve your relationship with your lover.
Be creative, but realistic. Small, attainable actions are better than outrageous that create anxiety and stress in order to complete them.
Keep a domino on your dresser as a reminder of your commitment.
Journal how your efforts impact you and your partner’s relationship. What benefits do you see? What changes in your attitude or your lover’s attitude do you see that help you feel closer?
If you don’t see any change by the end of April, this may signal your relationship is in distress and you need more time or additional help.
Many couples find a session or two of marriage counseling helps get a spark back in the relationship and back on track to being a great marriage when they remain attentive to the pulse of the relationship.
Happy domino constructing and relationship building!