Keeping love alive isn’t as simple as the occasional bouquet, fancy dinner, or anything else you see played out time and time again in the movies. Instead, cultivating real love takes lots and lots of hard work — and letting your partner know how much you care, even when times get to be difficult.
Below, we’ve put together 23 different ways to let someone know you’re the most important person to them, and they’re not all as obvious as you might think. A solid relationship is built with trust, understanding, and mutual respect — and unless you give your partner all those things and more, you will end up losing them for good.
From respecting their space to knowing when to show up for support, these pointers will let your significant other know that no matter what, there’s a place for them in your heart. And if you do things right, that means they’ll be a place for you in theirs, too.
#1. Keep in touch.
Life is full, and our schedules can feel pretty packed. Despite that, it’s important to keep a line of communication between you and the one you love. Reaching out to them regularly will let them know you care.
#2. If you love them, say it.
There’s not one person who doesn’t like to hear when someone loves them. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind when it comes to your loved one. Sometimes, a little “I love you” can go a long way.
#3. Look your best for them.
Let’s face it: If a person doesn’t love you at your worst, they certainly don’t deserve you at your best. That said, there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself together nicely to catch your significant other’s eye.
#4. Try not to fight.
There’s a big difference between couples who stay together and couples who break up: How they fight. If you’re constantly ratcheting up the tension, you’re not going to be able to maintain your relationship. Instead, try to keep things calm.
#5. Tell them they’re worth everything to you.
Do not miss even a single opportunity to make them feel special. This can mean cooking their favorite food, or taking them to their favorite place. No matter what, always make it known that you care.
#6. Be there through the hard times.
Life isn’t always easy, both in a relationship and out of it. Be the kind of partner that sticks around through all of it — even when it’s not convenient for you.
#7. Show your affection.
Surprise your partner with a little gift or handwritten note to show you care. It’s the little things like that make a difference.
#8. Always try to compromise.
You can’t always have what you want, when you want — especially in a relationship. Compromise is key when it comes to making both you and your partner happy.
#9. Let them choose the movie.
Watching a film is something couples do together often, and letting your significant other choose their favorite flick instead of yours is a small way to let them know you care.
#10. Do something different.
To reaffirm your love for someone, schedule something that’s outside both of your comfort zones. Take a class, do something physically challenging, or simply travel to a place you’ve never been. It can definitely help bring people together.
#11. Let them be embarrassed.
Part of building trust is knowing that you can share embarrassing moments with your significant other. Cultivate an environment where they feel comfortable doing the same.
#12. Let them talk.
Because sometimes, everyone needs an ear to hear them without response or judgement.
#13. Ask their opinions.
Everyone has them, and it’s important that your opinions are valued. Let your partner know that even if you don’t agree, you value their opinions on things in their lives.
#14. Spend quiet time together.
Silence can really be golden, and there’s something valuable in being able to spend quiet time alone together.
#15. Never judge their past.
People tend to hold onto regret, and they don’t need someone who constantly reminds them of it and judges them for it. Let your partner tell you things without judgement.
#16. Offer to do something for them.
And the simpler, the better. For example, say your partner has an errand to run. Offer to do it for them to let them know you care. After all, true love is someone who doesn’t feel bothered to pick up a tube of toothpaste.
#17. Make time for their friends and family.
Showing them you care about the other people in their lives is a way to show them you care about your relationship.
#18. Give them space when necessary.
Sometimes, people need time for self-reflection, or simply to be alone. Let your loved one be by themselves when they need to, or else you are basically disrespecting their needs.
#19. Hug them for no reason.
Because let’s face it: An unexpected hug is the best feeling ever.
#20. Kiss, just for the hell of it.
So often, kissing comes with expectations for more. Instead, just kiss your loved one simply to kiss them. You’ll be surprised how much closer it can bring you together.
#21. Let them hurt in front of you.
Being vulnerable in front of someone is a huge part of trust, and providing a safe space for them to hurt can show them how much you love them.
#22. Hold their hand.
This act of intimacy is just as important as kissing and hugging, so grab your partner’s hand every once in awhile to let them know you care.
#23. Let them love you in the way that makes sense to them.
No two people are the same, so it’s important to give your partner the space to love you how they feel comfortable doing so. Doing so will only bring the two of you closer together.
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