When asked in one of my workshops to give a statement that described an ideal relationship, a participant said “He gives me what I want before I can ask for it.” The other women in the room replied “Does that even exist?” I told them and I’ll tell you, I can attest to the fact that it does. It’s all about being willing to give and trusting that you will receive. Here are eight simple things that you can do that will say “I love you,” to your other half and have them returning the favor. There’s even a bonus: they are all free!
- Take the time to get to know your partner. I know this sounds basic, but it is worth mentioning. We generally know our mate pretty well but what I am speaking of here is using that knowledge to anticipate small things that will mean a great deal to them. My husband really loves pizza, and because of my dietary restrictions we don’t have it often. When I see that he has had a really trying day I can offer him a pizza night – comfort food – and help him put the day behind him.
- Just listen. Whether it’s a problem or a new idea, often your honey just wants to be heard. Many times when our partner is frustrated or upset we try to fix the problem. When they share new ideas or situations with us, we point out the things we think they might have missed. There is a time for that: when they ask us. Unless asked, just open your heart and listen. Nothing makes a person feel valued more than feeling that they have been heard.
- Talk. Talking to your other half is just as important as listening to them. Share yourself with them, your dreams and ideas and troubles. It builds the bond between you when you communicate. It allows your mate to get to know how you think and what’s important to you. It tells your partner that you trust them with your most intimate self.
- Cuddle. Every home needs a couch or at least a loveseat! Make sure there’s a chair big enough for the two of you and spend some couch potato time snuggled up on it. It helps to keep the affection and intimacy alive in a relationship. Cuddling can also be a great place of support to start conversations and dream together. Whether you talk, watch TV or listen to music, cuddle.
- Allow your partner to be themselves. Again, pretty basic, but sometimes neglected. Each of us wants to be loved for exactly who we are and to know that even our idiosyncrasies are loveable to our mate. Give that gift to your partner. If your other half has a habit or behavior that they want to change, by all means be supportive. If they are happy with who they are, you should be too.
- Remember little gestures mean a lot. Often times it’s the ordinary, everyday things that our partner does for us that mean the most. My husband leaves for work before I get up in the morning. When I come out to the kitchen he has always set out my coffee mug, sweetener packet, and a spoon for me. It’s a small thing, but it reminds me every morning that he cares for me.
- Show appreciation. When your partner does something for you whether great or small, be appreciative. Even if it’s not quite the way you would have done it, show appreciation that they made the effort – without pointing out where it fell short. If everything is in the “wrong” place, show honest appreciation for what they’ve done for you “Honey, it was so sweet of you to empty the dishwasher!” Then arrange to do it together: “Honey, I keep the pot lids over here so they are easier for us to reach.”
- Show affection and say the words. Nothing says I love you like spontaneous hugs and an unsolicited I love you. If you feel it, offer it. Hold hands in public. Touch your partner often, lay a hand on their shoulder or knee, anything. Touch conveys our love and vulnerability to our partner. It shows them they are important to us and needed.