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10 Tiny Ways to Make Your Partner Feel Loved

We asked relationship experts for tips on how to make your partner feel loved and appreciated, leading to better intimacy and connection.

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Small ways to make your partner feel loved

The more love you put into something, the more love you will (hopefully) receive. This also applies to people in happy marriages and relationships. There are countless ways to show your partner how much you care for them. These acts of love can indicate how supportive you are of each other, and can even further deepen emotional intimacy.

“Small things lead to big changes in relationships,” says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash and author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing), about doing an act of love for your partner. “You’ll likely be surprised at how effective doing something small is.”

To protect and strengthen your relationship, our experts offered a few small ways to show your partner that they’re loved.

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Compliment them

Tell your partner that you think they look hot, smell good, or whatever the case may be. And do so in the moment.  “You serve as your beloved’s best mirror,” says Jim Walkup, a licensed marriage counselor and family therapist who practices in New York City and White Plains, New York. “Where else will [they] find a sense of someone appreciating [their] essence and lifting it up?” Plus, by verbalizing their best qualities, you recommit to what’s great about them and the relationship, says Walkup. “You’re reminding yourself why you married [them] in the first place.”

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Put your phone down

An email, text, or phone call will always need a response. But do your best to give your partner your undivided attention when you’re together. Concentrate on your partner during dinner, when you’re in the car, on date night. “Nothing says ‘you’re important to me’ more than putting boundaries around all of the possible interruptions that impact sharing and being close,” says Walkup.

Make eye contact and focus on the during conversations. “It will send the message that you’re fully engaged in what [they’re] saying,” says Marni Feuerman, a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Boca Raton, Florida. “The message we send to our partners when they talk and we stare at our phones is that the person we’re emailing or texting with is more important than they are,” says Syrtash.

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Impress your partner

Wear that outfit they love or style your hair the way you did when you first met. This shows that you don’t take each other for granted, even if you’ve been together for years. There’s a healthy need to continue to impress each other. And you’ll feel more alive by taking such measures, says Walkup. (Here’s how marriage can affect your health.)

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Hug them (a lot)

Nothing makes you feel more attached than a hug, say Charles Schmitz and Elizabeth Schmitz (a.k.a. Doctors Schmitz), love and marriage experts and award-winning authors. Instead of giving each other a quick peck on the lips as you venture out for the day, embrace for a bit and let the touching linger. “Hugging releases oxytocin in your brain and will make you and your partner feel more connected and attached,” says Syrtash. And you’ll likely not want to let go either.

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Cook their favorite meal

It’s cliche but true: The way to a man or to a woman’s heart is through their stomach. Make your partner’s favorite meatballs for dinner, even if you don’t eat meat. (You don’t have to eat it! Just occasionally make a meal that can be modified so that you both can enjoy it.) On Sunday morning, surprise them with your homemade pancake recipe that they gush about. “Just the fact that you know what [he/she] loves and have put forth the extra effort will earn you mucho brownie points,” says Walkup. “Make sure you both have the time to savor it and take it in.”

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Say thanks for the small stuff

Express your gratitude—even for something as small as taking out the trash or driving the kids to soccer practice. “We often begin to take things for granted or think, ‘He/she’s supposed to do that anyway, so why should I thank him/her?’” says Feuerman. But for the sake of your marriage, it’s important to say “thank you”—a direct and easy way to convey your appreciation. “Never saying thanks will erode at the relationship,” says Feuerman. (These are the arguments that could end your relationship.)

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Reach out and touch them

You’ve seen it in the commercials or the movies. Someone puts their hand on top of someone else’s. Their eyes meet and they just seem at peace. It’s the power of touch. “Touching each other multiple times per day is the norm in successful marriages,” says Doctors Schmitz. “Touching says, ‘I love you so much I simply must touch you.’” So reach out and touch [they’re] arm, shoulder, whatever it may be.

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Tell them “I love you”

You can never express these three words enough and few people will tire of hearing them. Say these heartfelt words meaningfully and give your partner your full attention when doing so. Slip in an “I love you” as you wake up, go to sleep, and in other aspects of your daily life to help build a better relationship, says Walkup.

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Leave them little notes

It may be hard to carve out time for even a two-minute conversation if you have busy jobs or kids running afoot. But you can always communicate your desire and appreciation for one another through the handwritten word. Leave them notes on the bathroom mirror, the windshield of their car, in their work bag. Write just about anything from “I love you” to an inside joke. “Any kind of sweet positive message will inspire [them] to continue to make you happy,” says Syrtash. Keep the notes genuine to make your partner feel special and loved.

senior same sex couple holding hands on the beachkate_sept2004/Getty Images

Spend time together

There’s no substitute for time together, even if you’re just couch surfing. If they’re watching sports, cuddle next to them. If they’re washing the car, bring them out a cold drink, or grab a sponge and lend a hand.  Not interested in helping? Stand near and chat while they scrub. It will be nice just to be close together. Plus, check out the 8 reasons why marriage is better than a gym.

Sources
Medically reviewed by Ashley Matskevich, MD, on July 29, 2020