Written by Writer’s Corps member Amanda Phillips
Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but you don’t have to wait for a grand reason or holiday to make your partner feel loved. There are lots of ways you can love better in your relationship, right now!
Contrary to what social media and society may tempt us to believe, making sure that your partner feels seen and heard and loved can take work! Some days it’s easy and Instagrammable, and other days it’s not — but we believe it’s more than worth the investment! Figuring out how to #LoveBetter in your relationships is all about taking a step back, checking in to see if anything about them is unhealthy or needs attention, and finding old and new ways to make them flourish and thrive!
I took some time to ask more of my friends and family members about what they do on the 364 days outside of Valentine’s Day to celebrate their relationships. The common thread? The day-to-day little things that happen outside of February 14 are really the essential ingredients for any lasting, healthy relationship. Here’s what everyone had to say:
They Voice Their Appreciation
“He tells me frequently that he loves me, asks about my day, and listens to me (about the good, the bad, AND the ugly.) The thing he does that makes me feel the most valued is simple: he constantly tells me he appreciates me! It doesn’t get better than that!
– Steven N.
They Ring In the Victories
“He makes me feel celebrated by always celebrating my victories. As a woman, I feel like we play down our success and don’t acknowledge everything we’ve done. Since just graduating college, I’ve been in a rut trying to figure out what my next step is. He never ceases to remind me ‘you just graduated college! You accomplished so much! You have me to lean on and don’t need to feel pressured to figure everything out two months after finishing school!’
Even small acts of kindness like making my cup of coffee in the morning, drawing a little doodle on the fridge, or just picking up flowers on his way home because he knows I’m feeling down. Those are the smallest, but greatest acts of love I have ever felt.”
– Zoe O.
They Give Key Reminders
“My partner encourages and reminds me to have ‘me time’ and put myself first.”
– Alora G.
They Celebrate Life Together
“Acknowledge the good things they do; humans are always quick to complain. Thank them for the everyday things they do instead of taking it for granted. Take the time to give sincere compliments (a good meal, an outfit you like…). Be grateful of the life and relationship you have and vocalize it. Letting your partner know they are loved, appreciated, admired, cared for, etc. helps keep them feeling fulfilled and satisfied rather than a working, nag-receiving, complaint-riddled ATM machine. Don’t assume they just know – tell them! Talk about the good things and not just the bad. Celebrate life, not just holidays.”
– Natalie P.
They Love My Furry Friend
“He puts up with my dog’s antics (and mine) on a daily basis, so if that’s not love then I don’t know what is!”
– Rebekah B.
They Leave Cute Notes
“We leave random little notes all over for each other to find. I’ve hidden them in his wallet, or lunch box, and he’s stuck them to my rear-view mirror or even emailed me love letters when I was very busy. Sometimes they’re mushy-gushy, other times encouraging (I left him a note in his suit pants the day of an interview) or just a funny joke. It’s always fun to see the other person taking time to think of you, even when you weren’t together. I’ve kept all of the notes he’s given me in my drawer and recently stumbled on the ones I’ve given him hidden away when we moved apartments. I loved seeing that he had held onto them too!”
– Abigail A.
We Created a Joint Playlist
“We have a playlist of all our favorite love songs that we share on Spotify.”
– Lindsey C.
They Find Ways to Make Routines Easier
“I was actually going to say nothing out of the ordinary, but he does put gas in my car, and make the beds, which mean a lot when I’ve had a long day.”
– Beth G.
We Share Meals…
“Every day we cook and eat at least one meal together. Some of the sweetest conversations and giggles come from being in the kitchen together and sharing a meal. He’s also the most patient man on earth with me and constantly asks me “What’s on your heart?” Then he will wait, listen, or hold me as I cry or tell him what’s on my heart, which is SO important for people like me who have been through toxic relationships and want to bottle up how they feel!”
– Jenna K.
…And Are Affirming in Vulnerability
“I feel loved daily by the way she stewards my vulnerability well by letting me know that she treasures my heart, and champions me whenever I’m vulnerable. It makes me feel safe that I can tell she trusts me. She loves me unconditionally, and partners with me in all the little adventures that make up life!.”
– Jeff L.
We Tackle Things Together
“We cook dinner together a lot! It’s fun, quality time for us and doesn’t make one person feel overworked.”
– Julie L.
We Don’t Take Things for Granted
“She always asks how my day went, even if it was full of mundane stuff I do all the time.”
– Lucas H.
We Haven’t Forgotten About Date Night!
Make time to date each other once a month. Keep talking and getting to know each other and you’ll change together instead of away from each other.
– Jamie H.
Surprises Never Get Old…
“Simple thoughtfulness: putting my favorite drink in the fridge so I have a cold one when I come home, turning the space heater on in my office before I wake up in the morning so it’s warm when I go in there, remembering to pick up my favorite snacks at the store…”
– Rachel D.
…Neither Does Going the Extra Mile
“My partner wakes up early to come crank my car for me (at 6:30am) on really cold days, so that I don’t have to go out in the cold or worry about it in the morning (because they know I am NOT a morning person and every weekday morning is honestly a struggle). When he knows I was up late the night before, sometimes he will throw in my favorite latte from Starbucks as an added surprise. It’s the thoughtful actions that only someone who truly knows you will know that you need.”
– Lydia Grace T.
We Speak Each Other’s Love Language
“We honor each other’s love language every day. His are acts of service and words of affirmation. Mines are physical touch and words of affirmation. We can be opposite at times; I’m very social and he isn’t, so we have very separate lives and that’s okay. We communicate openly and do small things every day to show love. ”
– Maggie M.
Their Kindness is Consistent
“Steven makes me a priority in his life. He vocalizes his love for me throughout the day, requests and respects my opinions, and is my constant encourager. Most importantly, he makes me feel valued through his kindness. When we’re laughing and having fun, he is kind. When we are in a difficult, sad, or trying situation, he is kind. His consistency across the board makes me feel valued.”
– Jason W.
They Know Presence is Important
“What makes me feel appreciated is when my partner listens, without trying to come up with a response while discussing something we don’t agree on, or even every day. It’s also about the little thoughtful gestures that you know your partner will appreciate and make their day a little better: if you know your partner is stressed and can help take one thing off their to-do list to make things easier.”
– Mal P.