Flowers and chocolates are for amateurs.
If I wanted a woman to know that I really cared about her, I felt I needed to show her my affection in an unmistakably over-sized way. Maybe I’d show up to her work with an unreasonable number of flowers or I’d plan an extravagant night out on the town. Maybe I’d spend a week giving her a small, personal gift every day just to let her know I was crazy about her.
And then I got married.
For example, when you’re married, something stereotypically romantic like, say, covering your bed in rose petals just becomes something you have to clean up before you go to sleep. It’s not that your partner doesn’t appreciate the effort, but c’mon, those petals are EVERYWHERE and all he/she wanted to do was go to bed.
When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, letting someone know that you love them becomes less about showing and more about doing. You don’t need flowers and candy to know they love you, but if they clean the bathroom without being asked — OMG, that is hardcore evidence of pure, adulterated LOVE.
1. Letting them sleep in.
2. If you’re a parent, letting them sleep in on BOTH weekend days. (And never calling attention to it.)
3. Never, ever eating the last cookie.
4. Warming up their car before they leave in the morning in winter. (Hot boxing or dutch-ovening does NOT count.)
5. Dropping off their dry cleaning.
6. Making the decision about where to go dinner immediately once realize that you’re about to enter the “I don’t know, where do you want to go” cycle.
7. Having a friendly conversation with their parents on the phone before you hand it over to them.
8. If you’re a man, making sure you clear the shower of any stray hairs before they get in there.
9. Having a secret stash of their favorite candy on hand for those moments at midnight when they ask, “Do we have anything sweet in the house?”
10. Not only doing their laundry along with your own, but doing it right. Reading labels, pre-soaking, the whole nine yards. (Extra points for folding and putting away.)
11. Unexpectedly taking a picture of them with your phone one morning and telling them, “You look GOOD today.”
12. Doing the dishes before you go to bed, so they don’t have to wake up to a sink full of crusted pots and pans.
13. Turning on their favorite music in the car without being asked.
14. Pausing the TV whenever they leave the room.
15. Breakfast in bed is nice, but unexpectedly packing them a lunch that they can take to school or work is even better.
16. Driving them to the airport, with no complaints, and stopping to get coffee before you leave.
17. Letting them fall asleep on your lap while you watch Netflix and, if they look comfortable, not waking them up for hours.
18. Having their back when they’re arguing with friends, even if they’re wrong. (Actually, especially when they’re wrong.)
19. Calling them to let them know about traffic delays on their way home.
20. Very, very simply saying “I love you” in a moment when they might not expect it.
Trust me. Standing outside their door at 6 am playing Peter Gabriel on a boombox might make them swoon, but these things… these are the things that people who spend forty years, fifty years, lifetimes together REALLY appreciate.