When we think about different ways to say, “I love you,” it’s often grand gestures like breakfast in bed and tropical vacations that come to mind. Don’t get us wrong — those are fantastic! You can and should do those things for your significant other when and if you get the chance.
But what happens when you don’t have the money for a vacation or the time to make an elaborate brunch? Well, it’s the little things that matter most in every area of our lives, and relationships are no different. Putting effort into the day-to-day experience we have with our partners can truly make the biggest difference in showing them we care.
And we should make the effort. As we’ve said before, you should put as much intention into your relationships as you do into your personal development, career goals, and financial well-being. It’s the people we’re close to who provide the most nourishment for our lives. So make sure your relationship doesn’t take a back seat to all of your other aspirations.
When you commit to a relationship, you should understand that it will need regular care in order to flourish. Partnerships are always evolving, just like we are. This means you need to regularly show your S.O. that they matter to you.
Read on for seven simple gestures to let your partner know they are loved.
#1: Make an Effort With Their Loved Ones
It’s usually easier and more enjoyable to connect with your own tribe than it is with someone else’s tribe. But when it comes to the important people in your partner’s life, making the effort is well worth it.
Putting thought into connecting with your S.O.’s tribe shows that you care enough to come out of your comfort zone for them. It’s a sign of commitment and an acknowledgment that you honor your partner’s whole life, not just their life with you. By being proactive with the people they care about, you show your partner respect, which is a big part of love.
So how exactly can you do this without being awkward, making things uncomfortable, and trying too hard? Be natural and play it by ear. Start by showing enthusiasm and a willingness to connect with their loved ones. For example, don’t just drop them off at home — come inside and say “Hi” to their roommates or family.
Once you’ve established a connection, you can see how much everyone wants to engage. If you get the green light, ask your partner what their social circle is into. Then use that as a basis for conversation or as a guide for what activities to suggest, such as brunch or a beach day.
#2: Dress Up and Make an Effort on an Ordinary Day
Imagine this: You get home from a long day filled with the drudgery of work and running errands, looking forward to an evening of doing laundry and then plopping on the couch. With no real plans for the evening, you expect another comfortable yet predictable evening of ordering Chinese take-out, unwinding with a drink, and unplugging with Seinfeld.
But when you get home, your partner looks gorgeous in a black dress and colorful eyeshadow as she casually goes about doing chores around your home. There’s no reason for her to do it, and in fact, the two of you never make it out of the house. But that simple gesture made the day just a little more special. It elevates your evening from the mundane to the magical.
Making an effort by spontaneously dressing up, wearing cologne or perfume, and otherwise sprucing yourself up shows your partner that you care enough to keep the romance alive. While comfort and even some degree of boredom are a healthy part of a long-term relationship, we still want to infuse our connections with a sense of romance.
Whether you pick up your partner for a weekday dinner date wearing something nice or save your favorite special shirt for when you’re together, unexpectedly looking good for your significant other can keep the spark alive.
#3: Do a Chore They Hate Doing
Does your partner hate doing the dishes? Do they despise cooking? Offering to take over those chores or do it for them when it’s their turn is a simple, practical, but effective way to say “I love you.”
Why is this? For many people, actions speak louder than words. Those whose love language includes acts of service feel loved when their partner makes their life easier in everyday ways. So if your loved one dreads taking out the trash or walking the dog, offer to make that your responsibility.
Let’s face it — we all have incredibly busy lives, and the list of tasks and chores can feel endless. It’s both a delightful surprise and a big relief to know that a task you’ve been worrying about is taken care of — without you even asking.
Along the same lines, grabbing something for them that they’re about to run out of is a very thoughtful way of showing you care. If you notice they’re running out of the makeup or hair gel they use daily, pick it up on your way home or order it on Amazon.
Won’t it be nice for them not to have to worry about it?
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#4: Get Physical
Just like some people prefer acts of service, others show affection through physical touch. Never underestimate the power of rubbing your partner’s back, running your fingers through their hair, or kissing their hand in an unexpected moment, like driving in the car.
The great thing about physical touch is that it can say things without words. Love can be a visceral, tactile, physical experience. Give a hug to your partner. Look into their eyes. Reach out and touch their arm, hold their hand, and bring your whole self fully into the present moment with them.
In a world where everyone is distracted on their phones, disassociated from their bodies, and spending too much time in the mental realm, connecting to your S.O. in physical ways can mean so much. The simple act of presence and touch shows that they matter and that you care.
#5: Let Some Things Go (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff)
According to Dr. Phil, we don’t need to view disagreements as a battleground in which to prove a point or get our way. Conflicts arise in any relationship, but during arguments, try aiming to be heard instead of aiming to be right.
Sometimes we need to stand our ground and maintain our boundaries, but other times it’s really worth getting some perspective. If you’re bothered by something like taking out the trash or coming out to dinner with your friends, would it hurt if you let your partner off the hook this one time?
When you don’t sweat the small stuff, you don’t give in to the need to have the last word. You don’t try to persuade your partner to agree with you — you let things go. This builds trust, lightens the mood, and shows that you’re not preoccupied with being right.
#6: Plan a Spontaneous Adventure
Laughing together is one of the magic ingredients to a fulfilling relationship. When you’re being silly and having fun together, you don’t have room to ruminate about the past or worry about the future. You can drop into the moment.
The same goes for having fun together. Planning a spontaneous adventure — whether it’s surprising them with a drive to see a holiday light show, bringing them to a drive-in movie theater, or taking a romantic drive up the coast — is a great way to bring you closer together and make beautiful memories.
Plus, doing all the planning for them can help relieve them of the decision fatigue many of us are facing. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and relax without having to worry about buying tickets or finding parking.
#7: Do Something Classically Romantic
We can’t include a list of loving gestures without nodding to tradition in some way. While doing something over-the-top on a regular basis isn’t practical, sprinkling in some old-fashioned romance like a love letter or a nice gift can add a little drama and magic to your love affair.
Not sure what to do? You might try leaving a sweet love note for your partner on their desk or writing a letter to them while you’re away on a trip. In today’s digitally-focused world, a handwritten note or letter feels like a throwback in the best possible way. Our grandparents probably wrote love letters and kept them safely tucked away, wrapped in ribbon.
If you’re not up for a letter, you could also bring your partner breakfast in bed or take a walk down memory lane by getting old pictures of you two framed. Sweetness and sentimentality are a breath of fresh air in a sometimes cynical world. Why not bring that sweetness to your relationship?
Showing You Care is Worth It
If you’ve been wondering how to say I love you, we hope you found inspiration in these seven tips.
Remember that relationships are like plants — they need regular watering in order to grow and be healthy. You don’t need to overwater them, but you do need to be patient and loving to help them grow.
Hopefully, these tips will help you thrive in your relationships and achieve greatness in your life!