In today’s world, saying something is no longer good enough, especially if you’ve said it countless times before. As that cheesy Extreme song goes, “More than words to show you feel, that your love for me is real.”
Let me tell you a little tale that took place several years ago. I’m the kind of person who constantly quips “I love you” for everything and anything. I end messages with XOXO and I say “I love you” to almost anyone I come into contact with. Everyone from my fiancé to my regular delivery lady has been at the receiving end of my “I love you” spiels.
My fiancé isn’t the jealous type, but all my “I love you” professions made him think that I didn’t truly mean it every time I said it to him. I, on the other hand, constantly berated him for always leaving me hanging and for not saying it enough.
One day, he took me by the hand, looked me in the eye and said, “Honey, if you overuse it, it loses its meaning.” He then went into this whole thing about supply and demand that left me reeling, and although I scoffed at him, it got me thinking long and hard about the true meaning of “I love you.” That’s when I decided that saying it wasn’t going to cut it, and I had to show it. That’s just what I did and our relationship is now stronger than ever.
Just like my fiancé said, sometimes, saying the words doesn’t mean much. People make empty promises all the time. People say things that they don’t mean. People lie and people exaggerate. Nowadays you have to offer hard-hitting proof that you really care about the one you love.
We all know that no matter how vehemently you deny it because it’s childish, pointless or a complete waste of time, deep down inside, you also want your partner to prove just how much they love you. How about getting the ball rolling and showing your appreciation to them first?
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” He probably meant standing up against colonial and economic oppression, but there’s no reason why you can’t use his saying in this context.
How to show your love with more than just words
Love isn’t just one grand gesture that gets you high for days on end. It’s the little, seemingly inconsequential things that build up and create a loving atmosphere. If you want to show your partner how much you love them and appreciate having them in your life, here are 11 ways you can do that.
#1 Touch more. Don’t turn your nose up at public displays of affection. Sometimes, a little PDA is all that your lover needs to know for sure that you love them. Holding hands, slinging your arm around them, kissing and hugging are all wonderful expressions of love. Don’t just save it for public excursions, either. The sweetest forms of affection take place behind closed doors, so don’t be shy to get touchy feely with your partner. [Read: 16 non-sexual touches to make you feel loved and connected]
#2 Laugh and play. Don’t be serious and uptight all the time. Sure, it may just be who you are, but there’s no reason why you should forgo laughing and playing with your partner on a regular basis. The whole point of being in a relationship is to be able to do silly things together and be as expressive as you want.
Playtime is very important, and I don’t just mean between the sheets. Turn everyday chores into something fun. You could play hide and seek at the grocery store, tag team on cleaning days and get into irrelevant yet super fun tickle fights. It doesn’t matter what you categorize as fun, but so long as you can do it and make your partner smile in the process, your job is done. Remember that you’re never too “adult” to indulge in playtime with your lover.
#3 Give gifts. Everyone loves gifts, and your partner is no different. You don’t have to head out to Tiffany’s and overpay for bling bling, although that won’t hurt one bit. But you can also spend a dollar on the gift, so long as it’s meaningful.
Most of the time, the sweetest gifts are the ones that cost nothing, so if you have the time to make something with your own two hands, go for it. Whether it’s a pressed flower bookmark or a playlist of your favorite tunes, it’s really the thought that counts. You can also give your lover experiences like a holiday, scuba diving course, power boat license, or anything else that you think they’d enjoy.
#4 Send love notes. Instead of verbally expressing your love, put it down on paper, or e-paper for that matter. From post-its to memes, there are countless ways for you to show your appreciation in love. I, for one, always leave little surprise notes in my fiancé’s suitcase every time he has to go off on a business trip.
You’ll be surprised at just how meaningful these little scraps of paper can be to someone who is homesick and missing their lover. It reminds them that no matter how far away they are, they have someone waiting for them at home. [Read: How to write a sweet little love note]
#5 Pay attention. Another way to show your appreciation in love is to always pay attention to what they say and do. Some people are less expressive than others, and if your sweetheart is like this, you have to learn to read between the lines.
They may not always show and express just how stressed, tired or upset they are, so it’s your job to figure it out. For example, I had no idea just how much pressure my fiancé was under at work, until his colleague blabbed it to me when I ran into him at a café. It hit me hard, and I felt so guilty for not paying attention to the little signs that my lover was sending out on a daily basis. I learned to focus, and I can confidently say that listening and paying attention are very important when it comes to showing appreciation in love. [Read: 10 ways to be a better listener in a relationship]
#6 Give thanks. Show appreciation to your lover by being grateful, and be sure that you verbalize it every time. Even the little things deserve recognition. From making dinner to taking out the trash, be thankful that your partner does these things, not because it’s expected of them, but because they want to do it.
#7 Plan surprises. Ah, the power of surprises. Everyone loves a good surprise, so why not make the effort to plan a little something for your sweetheart? From the big stuff like organizing a getaway, to surprising them with dinner reservations at their favorite ribs joint, make the effort to be lovingly adorable.
Even the simple stuff counts as a surprise. Stuff like setting up a candlelit bubble bath for your girlfriend after she gets home from a long day at work to treating your husband to a sexy oil massage, don’t underestimate the power of these surprise gestures. [Read: 25 sweetest romantic gestures for everyday life]
#8 Give your time. You can also show appreciation in love by giving your time to your loved one. Let them know how important they are by setting aside all distractions the next time you spend quality time together. Put your phone away, and turn off all your little gadgets. Make it all about the two of you, and indulge in endless conversations about anything that tickles your fancy.
My fiancé and I practice “nothing night” on a regular basis. We basically make sure that there’s nothing around to distract us from one another. We just shut the world out and sit alone at home chatting, laughing and just reveling in being together. Although our schedule isn’t set it stone, we make it a point to do this every so often to intimately reconnect. [Read: 12 things happy couples talk about to feel closer]
#9 Give praise. Another way to show appreciation is to give praise. Positivity is extremely important in a relationship, and one way to project this is to let your lover know just how great they are. Praise your boyfriend’s cooking, tell your wife she looks stunning, whisper to your lover how great they smell and so on. There are myriad ways that you can praise someone, so be sure to do it often.
#10 Take care of things. Show your partner how much you appreciate them by taking care of things. I don’t mean it in a Scarface sort of way, where you shower their enemies with cocaine and AK-47 them to death. I mean helping them take a load off their shoulders. Do something nice and meaningful for your partner, especially when they’re feeling down or stressed out.
Little gestures like washing their car, grooming the dog, putting the kids to bed, grabbing takeout on the way home and other little everyday gestures will be sure to please them. The less they have to worry about, the more they will know just how much you love them.
#11 Change for the better. One of the best ways to prove your love is to be a better person for your partner. I know that people always preach about never changing for anyone, but to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with making a change for the better.
Stop being so grumpy, quit smoking, come home early from work more often, and plan more family trips. Improving your joint lives will not be lost on your partner, and you can bet your bottom dollar that this is the ultimate form of showing them your appreciation. [Read: 9 ways you and your partner bring out the best in each other]
Show your parents, kids, friends, relatives, neighbors, teachers, cleaning lady and everyone else who plays a part in your life how much they mean to you. The same way you would respond well to praise and meaningful gestures of love, they will too. Make it your mission to touch the lives of those around you, and show appreciation in love today.
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