Relationship Minute: Showstopper

Imagine you are watching a play—a serious drama. The cast, costuming, and set are minimal, the acting restrained. The audience is on the edge of their seats, captivated by the tension created by this quiet performance.

All of a sudden, the lights change, glitter cannons shoot out on the stage, and the cast breaks out into a rousing, buoyant musical number.


Why are they singing and dancing? Why is there a marching band on stage? Why am I covered in confetti?

Before you have time to figure out what’s going on, the number is over and the play resumes as though nothing happened.

Don’t let Valentine’s Day be an out-of-place musical number in your relationship.

When you go to see a musical, the audience expects the actors to sing and dance. There is an agreement that it won’t catch anyone off-guard when the music starts to play, even though that’s not how people behave in “real life.”

Every day is an opportunity to show your partner that you love them.

Every interaction creates context, which determines how out-of-place a big “musical number” might seem.

The key to lasting love is showing care and affection in the small moments. Over time, the little stuff sets the scene for grander gestures to have a bigger impact.

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The Relationship Minute from The Gottman Institute, dated 13 February 2020. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.