Oh, how do I love you? Let me count the ways… and then tell you all about them. Think outside the box, Darling, and show them just how much you care.
Couples express love through a variety of everyday actions—a touch, a gesture of kindness or generosity, a thoughtful act. We tell one another, “Be careful,” or “Drive safe.” We learn just how they like their coffee or tea. In these ways, we’re saying “I care about you” through actions rather than words.
Sometimes we forget that love comes in many forms and people may have different ways of delivering the same message. I am a verbal person. I like using words to express myself. However, my significant other is not. He is more “action oriented” when it comes to expressing his feelings. Figuring out which method your partner uses to express him/herself is helpful, but there are many small ways we show our love for each other without actually saying “I love you.”
Below are ten common ways to express your love, even when you aren’t actually saying the words:
One way we show love is to give our partner our uninterrupted, undivided attention. Not every second of every day, but when it counts. Show up and really listen. This is something I noticed about my guy when we first met. He really paid attention to what I was saying. How did I know? Because he’d bring up something I said or mentioned I enjoyed doing in conversation weeks later. To this day, he is the best listener I know—even when I don’t know he’s listening. His actions prove that he hears me and take into account the things I say, be it big or small. Listening shows you value the person as well as what they say.
Another way we show we care for or love someone without using words is through kind or thoughtful gestures. This can be as simple as opening a door for your partner or bringing home flowers for no reason. Or, it can be as simple as calling or sending a text just to let them know you’re thinking of them, or expressing your appreciation because your love did the laundry (and folded it!) without being asked. Little gestures can go a long way.
Think back to when you first met. You showed interest, you flirted. It was fun & exciting. Flirting is healthy. No matter how long you’ve been in your relationship, a little healthy flirting is a great way to fuel the fire and show the other person you still find them as attractive and interesting as you did in the beginning. Tell her she looks sexy when she works at her desk. Tell him how handsome he looks in that shirt. Leave love notes around the house, or send a flirty text: “Looking forward to seeing you tonight!” (insert wink or kiss emoticon here).
Go Out of Your Way
When someone you love does something that you know they would rather not do—but they do it to make you happy—that’s love. Going out of your way to show someone you care is an act of love. When your partner drives through a snowstorm just to see you? Well, that’s love. Likewise, fixing their favorite meal after a hard day, or picking up their favorite flowers on the way home are little reminders you care.
Space to enjoy a much needed girl’s night out. Space to let him watch the game in peace…or with his buddies. Space to go for a run or read the paper. Everyone needs a little alone time every now and again. Recognize this and don’t begrudge it; it’s healthy to give each other space and time for yourself. It means you care for each other’s well-being as an individual, and that’s important.
Lend a Helping Hand
Oftentimes, daily chores can become mundane and go unnoticed or unrecognized. Just the simple task of pitching in and helping out without being asked can go a long way. Little acts such as doing the laundry, running the vacuum, or unclogging the drain without someone having to ask you to do it lets your significant other know you care and are part of the team. Someone has to do these things or they’d never get done. Not your dirty dish in the sink? Who cares, pick it up anyway. Helping out is a form of appreciation.
Say ‘Thank You’
Everyone likes to feel appreciated. No one likes feeling taken for granted. When your loved one does something nice for you or goes out of their way for you, be sure to let them know you appreciate them. It can be too easy to get busy with our day-to-day life and forget to tell our loved one how much we appreciate them and are grateful for all they do for us. The happiest couples are those who notice and respond when their partner makes that extra effort or reaches out. A simple smile or “thank you” is all that it takes.
You like the thermostat set to 72 degrees while he likes it set at 65? Be willing to be a little colder, or warmer, than you’d like. Maybe you’re really good at taking care of bills on time and he’s a better cook or cleaner. Allow the person who’s better at that one thing to take charge of it. This can prevent unnecessary squabbles. Compromise makes relationships go round.
Don’t waste time on the negative aspects of your relationship. Focus on the positive things about your partner and your relationship that make it worthwhile. Don’t hold grudges or spend time fixated on petty things that don’t matter in the big picture. Focus instead on the things you love about him/her—like how generous, giving or helpful they are. Tell them—or others—how smart, funny, or kind they are. Talking about our partner’s best qualities, sharing their successes or achievements, serves to remind us what we find so wonderful about them. Life is too short to focus on the negative; rather, stay focused on the positives that make your relationship loving and beautiful, and worth the investment.
Make Your Relationship a Priority
Everyone is busy. You’re busy. I’m busy. But, no one is too busy to text. Stay in touch. Send a love note: ‘Thinking of you…” or “xoxo.” Call just because. Plan a weekly date night. The little things matter as much as (if not more than) the big things.