Once upon a time a man was walking along an ocean-crested beach. As he looked down the beach, he saw a curious sight. When he got closer he saw that it was actually a young boy picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
The man called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
Puzzled, the man queried:
“And why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
“The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them back they’ll die.”
“But young man, there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and affirmed: “It made a difference for that one!”
This story has always reminded me that little things mean a lot.
Little things do mean a lot, and especially in dating and relationships.
In dating when he remembers the small details of your career or day-to-day life and asks you to update him about them, it means a lot.
In dating when she enthusiastically and promptly returns your flirtatious text message with one of her own, it means a lot.
In a relationship it may be that glass of water that is always considerately placed at your bedside knowing that you’ll be thirsty later. Little things mean a lot.
Conversely, little negative things can seem insignificant at the time, but they are the ones that can add up and eventually creates an irreversible landslide of hurt and misunderstanding. It’s the last little negative act that becomes the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back.
Too often we overlook the value of the little gestures of kindness and consideration. And then, just like the starfish that dies without water, our relationships can dry up and die as well.
The biggest test of the depth of our commitment and understanding in dating and relationships is found in our attention to the little details with which we can build a foundation for an unshakable future.