5 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ (Without Actually Saying It)

Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate love — but sometimes just telling your partner “I love you” doesn’t accurately portray everything you feel about them, especially if you’ve been together for a while. It can begin to feel like “love” just doesn’t cover the meaningful place they hold in your life. Here are a few alternative ways to show your significant other how deeply you care for them.

1. Show appreciation

One of the biggest indicators of a healthy relationship is when couples show gratitude toward each other. Maybe your partner does the dishes most nights, and you’ve grown accustomed to this act of kindness. Take a moment to let them know just how appreciative you are of everything they do. Even if you think they already know this, saying the words out loud can remind them that it (and them) are always on your mind.

2. Get them something special

For many people, gift giving can be difficult. In fact, a lot of givers tend to fall back on giving their partner something they themselves would like to receive, making an assumption that their sweetheart will like it, too. Take the time this year to think about the little hints your honey has left you over the past few months or even years, and get them something special that shows you listen to and understand them. This can mean picking out a pendant in their favorite color, getting them that pair of earrings they’ve had saved in their favorites, or including a heartfelt note explaining exactly why you’re giving them their gift. It doesn’t have to be extravagant — what matters the most is that it’s meaningful.

3. Spend some quality time

Gifts can be wonderful, but sometimes all your honey wants is to spend a little time together. Even if you live together, everyday activities like watching TV and going to the grocery store are often interrupted by phones, social media, or simply not being present in the moment. Take them out to dinner, have a coffee or breakfast date, or just spend an hour or two giving them your full and undivided attention. If it feels a little weird to be so one-on-one, try out conversation cards like this app created by The Gottman Institute to get the ball rolling.

4. Give selflessly

Maybe your partner has been busy with work and hasn’t had time to pick up their prescriptions or do their laundry, or maybe you’ve been eating out a lot because neither of you has wanted to make a home-cooked meal. Taking on one of these small acts of kindness without being asked to can make a world of difference for your significant other — a really easy way to say “I love you.”

5. Ask them what they want

Here’s a simple way to show you care that is often overlooked: Try asking your partner if there’s anything you can do to make their life a little easier. Chances are, there are a few small tweaks you could make to help brighten their days. They might even let you know about an activity they’ve been wanting to try together that they’ve been too embarrassed or afraid to bring up sooner. Just opening up the conversation leaves room for you to grow and communicate as a couple.

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