There is an immense amount of pressure to perform grand romantic gestures for your partner on Valentine’s Day. Experts suggest it’s just as important to show that special someone how much you appreciate them in simple ways 365 days a year. For example, do you know your partner’s love language?
“Love languages refer to five different styles of communicating love and appreciation in a relationship,” says Julie Bailey, clinical manager at Centerstone. They include quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, and gift giving and receiving.
“If love and appreciation are not expressed on other days, whatever is offered on Valentine’s Day may feel obligatory,” says Bailey. “People need the assurance and security of love and appreciation every day in gestures both big and small.”
Here are ten different ways to show your partner love and appreciation on a regular basis:
• Mail a card. Even if it’s sent to your own address, writing a meaningful message to your partner is a simple, intentional way to emphasize that you care.
• Small gestures. Small gestures are the foundation for everyday lives as a couple. If you’re thinking about your partner, try to do something that reflects it—like bringing home their favorite snack and binge-watching a favorite show together.
• Active listening. Try to avoid multitasking when talking to your partner. Offer your undivided attention and really be with them. “There is value in creating the safety to communicate openly and have tough conversations,” says Jenna Farmer-Brackett, clinical manager at Centerstone.
• Offer to help. “If you know that your partner may be dealing with a lot of stress, try to offer to take something off their plate,” says Bailey, “Try to help your partner by doing something they don’t enjoy doing such as taking out the trash.”
• Compliment them. Express appreciation to your partner with a specific compliment. Be genuine when you say, “You always do such a great job with (fill in the blank).”
• Honoring feelings. Every person is unique and has a special way of expressing themselves. Listen to your partner when they express excitement or disdain. Try to avoid dismissing feelings.
• Eat dinner together. Whether you stay in and cook a nice meal or go out to your favorite restaurant, it’s important to experience that together. Spend time talking about your day and enjoying just being with each other.
• Try each other’s interests. “Make a list of things that each partner enjoys doing in their free time,” says Farmer-Brackett, “After you make that list, try and invite your partner to participate in your interests with you.”
• Respect personalities. Behaviors, emotions, feelings and passions are unique for every individual. Try to understand, encourage or acknowledge your partner’s personality and take an interest in those parts of them.
• Live for now. “Try to avoid getting caught up in the what-if questions or phrases that use future tense,” says Farmer-Brackett. Take the time to focus your energy on you and your partner right now! What can you do together to focus on your relationship?
Remember to show your partner love and appreciation every day of the year. It is important that each person in a relationship feels seen, heard and valued—not just on Valentine’s Day.
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