February is the month of love – a time for Valentine’s Day and remembering love – emphasizing the importance of love in our lives. The celebration of February 14th is cute, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t show your love and appreciation for your significant other every single day!
Whether it’s by surprising them with a romantic date or showering them with words of gratitude, nothing is too big or too small. You may have a ton of things in common with your partner — favorite foods, similar morals or hobbies like for example watching for stupid movies. But even when most things feel so right, it's not always common to see eye to eye when it comes to being more affectionate in your relationship. That's because everyone views and expresses love differently. Think of your current partner or people you have dated in the past. You have probably had some partners who weren't so much up for a hug, but were totally down to cook you dinner, or do you any favors. And that's fine, as it can be nice to show, and be shown, love in different ways. But if your partner's version of affection doesn't match up at all with yours, then some problems can start to bubble up.
So how do you define affection? Most of the time, it's a physical thing. That's because touch releases some pretty powerful hormones that we often connect to the feelings of love. If you and your partner aren't agreeing on such things, or if you've been feeling a little neglected, then here are some ways to get your partner to be more affectionate, every day.
1. Identify Your Love Language
Like I said above, not every couple matches up perfectly when it comes to expressing love. You may be the super touchy-feely type, while your partner prefers to show love with gifts, or sweet words. It can work out fine, but it can also end up leaving one or both of you feeling rejected, or kind of confused. So take some time to figure out your love languages, as they can be pretty revealing. According to a psychology test result, there are five ways people show love: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Find out which styles float around in your relationship, and then make time to give each other what you need.
2. Be an Active Listener
There’s a big difference between hearing and actively listening. For most of us, hearing simply happens. Our ears automatically perceive sound. In contrast, listening is something you consciously choose to do. In other words, a good listener pays attention to the intention of understanding the other person. This involves not just passively absorbing what the other person is saying but actively participating in the conversation by asking thoughtful questions. Good listeners also pay attention to how their partner is telling them something. By being an active listener, you are showing your significant other that you are really interested in how they feel. This moves us along to our next tip…
3. Ask Your Partner How They Are Doing
Don’t just ask your soulmate how they are doing, be specific. Ask them about that project they’ve been working on since the start of the year. Ask them about their new boss. This sounds simple enough but we often get so caught up in the routine of a relationship that we forget to really connect with our partners. This will show that you care about what is going on in their life.
4. Don’t Scroll and Talk
We live in a highly connected world thanks to social media. While being tunned in is great for your social life online, it’s not always great for your relationship. How many times have you been caught scrolling Instagram instead of chatting up your partner? Or checking our email while simultaneously holding a conversation. Sometimes it’s good to disconnect and focus on being in the moment. Try setting aside regular time to focus on each other, like having dinner or tackling a project together. This will help your significant other feel that you find them interesting and that you want to be around them.
5. Make Time for Them
You really wanted to go play ball with your friends or catch that new art exhibit, but you realize it’s been a couple of weeks since you and your sweetheart have spent quality time together. You may feel like your missing out but compromising to make time for your partner shows them how much you care. Of course, you shouldn’t be expected to spend all of your time with your significant other, but making an effort to include them in your plans is totally worth it. A healthy relationship gives each person room to pursue their interests while also creating time for each other.
6. Hang Out with Their Friends
Your partner's friendships most likely predate your own relationship, so make an effort to get to know them. Making an effort to get to know their friends will signal to your significant other that you care about the people they care about and that you want to be a part of their world.
7. Send Them Random Cute Messages
Sending funny GIFs, cute emojis, or just random sweet messages such as “Thinking of you” or “Hey beautiful, hope you are having a great day” is a cute way to show your partner they are on your mind.
8. Leave a Love Note
It’s not common to receive handwritten notes since we can now easily and quickly communicate through other avenues. But there is something really romantic about finding a note on your pillow or getting a postcard in the mail. Small gestures like these show that you are thinking of your significant other and appreciate them enough to write them a thoughtful note.
9. Show Affection in Public
We’re not talking about over-the-top displays of affection here, a nice little hand squeeze or a peck on the cheek is all you need to show your partner you care without making the people around you uncomfortable.
10. Be Your Partner’s Loudest Supporter
Is your sweetheart working hard for that promotion? Have they been working on a project that they are passionate about? Be supportive of their aspirations and encourage them with your words and actions. Do you have a particular skill that could help propel your partner’s project forward? Offer to help. Does your significant other need a sounding board to bounce ideas off of? Well, this is a good time to put those active listening skills we talked about earlier to good use. By encouraging and supporting your partner in their goals you are showing them that you want to see them do well and care about their happiness.
11. Get Your Partner Their Favorite Snack
Do you know what your sweetheart’s favorite snack is? Pick it up on your way to see them. It is a simple and easy way to put a smile on their face. It will also show them you know them like the back of your hand.
12. Make Your Partner’s Favorite Dinner (or Breakfast in Bed)
It’s easy to just go out to eat together and with so many dining choices it can become something you start doing mechanically. To change things up a bit and do something special for your partner, try preparing their favorite dinner, or making them breakfast in bed. Preparing a special meal for your favorite person will take some effort on your part but that’s ok because that is what makes it special.
If you’re not sure what to make or find the kitchen intimidating, check out these amazing date-night recipes here and breakfast in bed recipes here. Personally, I know my partner loves a good steak. When I want to make something extra special, I like to prepare a nice Filet Mignon with a mushroom sauce (check out the recipe here).
13. Support Your Partner Through Tough Times
Follow up on things you know your significant other is worried about. It can be hard to bring up something that might be weighing you down, so asking about specific situations that you are aware of will help your partner open up. And remember, you want to be supportive, not preachy. Simply giving your partner the space to vent without offering advice can go along way. Finding a healthy balance between letting your partner vent and helping them find solutions to what’s bothering them can be tricky but a good rule of thumb is to ask your partner if they’re open to hearing your advice before you give it.
14. Lighten Their Load
Does your partner hate to do the dishes? Or walk the dog? Surprise them by doing the task they dislike the most. As long as you don’t feel like you are expected to always do all of the housework, it’s a nice gesture and is sure to make them happy.
15. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Nothing is more toxic to a healthy relationship than resentment. Relinquishing the need to have the last word and knowing how to let go of things will help you build a solid foundation for a healthy relationship.
16. Show Appreciation
Do you love how you can always count on your significant other when you need them? Do you love how they make you laugh at the most inappropriate times? Tell them what you appreciate about them or tell others what you appreciate about your partner when you are together in a group. Also, saying thank you goes a long way. Be specific and show your sweetheart what you are thankful for, this could even mean thanking them for just being them!
17. Celebrate What Makes Them Unique
All of us want to feel accepted and appreciated, especially by the people we love. Celebrate your partner's little quirks and let them be themselves. By doing this, you create a safe space for your significant other to let their guard down and be their true selves.
18. Be Spontaneous
Surprise your sweetheart with tickets to a game, to see their favorite band, a special exhibit, or a mini-getaway to their favorite destination. Watching their face light up when you surprise them is probably the best gift you can receive and is a fun way to show them you love them.
19. Ask For Advice
Seeking your partner’s opinion isn’t really about needing help to make a decision, but more of a gesture to show that you value what they have to say and you want them to be a part of whatever you are doing.
19. Don’t be a Cliché
Don’t do things you’re ‘supposed’ to because people say they are romantic. I realize that statement is a tad ironic considering that I’m writing an article on romance, but hear me out. If roses, chocolates and expensive dinners aren’t your things, don’t do it! News flash, not every girl likes that stuff. I know I don’t. We’re not actually all the same. Take the time and effort to be romantic in a way the other person will appreciate.
20. Do Some Chores
This may not sound particularly romantic, but saving your significant other from doing some of the domestic jobs they hate is damned sexy.
21. Go Out For Lunch/Dinner
Maybe you two like going for dinner and would prefer that to eat in. Just make sure you take them somewhere they will love. Again, this doesn’t mean it has to be a cliché. If they prefer the Lebanese restaurant down the street to the French bistro, take them there. If this means they’ll be having garlic breath for the next three days, well then you’ve just proven your sacrificial love even more.
22. Make their birthday special
Again, this is only recommended if they actually like birthdays. Make your partner feel like the most important person in the world on their birthday. Running down to the mall the day beforehand and picking up any old crud you can find and handing it to them in a plastic bag will not make them feel good about themselves. In fact, they may even question how much they truly mean to you. I’m not saying you need to spend a lot of (or even any) money, presents don’t have to be tangible. Just make sure that you show them that time, thought and love went into whatever you do.
23. Don’t let the romance die
Getting comfortable with one another is fine, just don’t let the romance die off completely. You may not always be able to maintain the same butterflies you experienced on your first date, but you can sure as hell try to make your partner feel loved and special every day.