You Matter To Me: Keys For Keeping Tenderness In Marriage


You Matter To Me

A key concept for healthy relationships is illustrated in the movie “Date Night”, starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. The main characters, the Fosters, are a sensible suburban couple striving to keep passion in their marriage despite sloughing through their average lives of kids, jobs and a mortgage.  

A case of mistaken identity sends them through an outrageous chain of adventures. Just when it seems they are doomed, Phil Foster comes up a brilliant escape plan. After the hair brain idea works, Clair asks him how he ever conceived the idea.  Phil explains it got the idea from the plot in her book club novel. 

Claire is amazed because even she had not finished the book.  Phil explains he is a diligent member of the all-women book club because, “if it is important to you, it is important to me.” His devotion to her cause saves their lives.

How does your partner know you matter to them?

Healthy couples signal each other frequently that they are important to each other.  From sweet endearing nicknames, to tender motions of touch these happy couples communicate their partner is precious.

Susan Johnson, PhD, in her work on Emotionally Focused Therapy poses these questions:

What do you do on a regular basis to show you are there for your spouse?  If you could not use words how would your partner know you were on their mind while you were away?

Important rituals that keep the marriage tender:

  • 1.    Kissing and hugging partner good bye and hello
  • 2.    Letter writing and leaving notes for each other
  • 3.    Religious rituals such as praying together, attending church together and reading uplifting material.
  • 4.    Saying hello and asking about each other’s day
  • 5.    Reading a book together
  • 6.    Calling during the day to check in
  • 7.    Spending part of the morning together in bed and talking
  • 8.    Having a conversational ritual of talking together
  • 9.    Regular date night
  • 10.Develop a hobby you do together
  • 11.Taking a class together or learning a new skill
  • 12.Finding someone in need and working together to serve and help



In the movie, “On Golden Pond” we see one of the most touching senior couple scenes ever portrayed in cinema. Katherine Hepburn, Ethyl, reassuringly speaks to her aged husband, Norman, after his dementia caused him to lose his way home. Ethyl gazes lovingly into her husbands eyes stroking his chin and says, “You are my Knight in shining armor…”  click hereYoutube clip, “You are my knight in shining armor”

I believe it is everyone’s secret wish to just be able to grow old like Ethel and Norman, and still be so much in love with each other. 

Dr. Sue Johnson says:

·      We all need to know you exist for one another, your partner sees and recognizes you.

·      We all need to know we are precious; we count for one another.

·      We all desire to be held and comforted when vulnerable

·      We all desire reassurance, that the other will respond when needed.

Every couple can learn from this tenderness habits to buoy up their companion in times of doubt and difficulty.  We should all consider our mates our heroes, our knights in shining armor. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.31.12 PM

We all wish to be loved dearly; it raises our self esteem and enjoyment of life. As Elvis sang, “love me tender, love me true.”

Another favorite for everyone woman,  “You Are So Beautiful To Me”:

Camille Curtis Foster, MSW, LCSW

Contact Me:   801.472.7134/

If you want to learn more:

Great TED talk by Dr. Sue Johnson

Best predictor of marriage success is wife’s happiness:

Additional notes regarding benefits of sex in a marriage:

Another relationship post from me:

Source used for this article:

Johnson, Sue. (2008)  Hold Me Tight, Seven Conversations For A Lifetime Of Love. Little Brown and Company. New York.

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