While it's always nice to hear, "I love you," it's also true that actions speak much louder than words. Telling someone you love them, when it isn't backed up by actions, can feel empty to the recipient.
Take advantage of every opportunity to surprise your partner with reminders of your love. Leaving sweet love notes in places where they'll be found unexpectedly is nice, but what else can you do that takes effort to demonstrate your love?
- Filling up your partner's gas tank so they don't have to stop in the morning on the way to work
- Making sure their favorite snack is always stocked in the pantry
- Getting the trash out to the curb on trash pick-up days
- Regularly organizing date nights so you can have some intentional time together
- Remembering anniversaries and making a big deal out of them
- Honoring your partner's needs
- Showing interest in your partner's life
- Being kind to your partner's friends and family
- Listening to your partner when they speak
- Being consistent in your efforts to make them feel loved
Actions vs. Assertions
It's fairly easy to say the words, "I love you," but it takes effort to actually demonstrate it. Focus more on doing things that make your partner feel loved than talking about your love. While it is indeed important to tell your partner you love them, that shouldn't be the end of your efforts.
Show Love Without Words
Many books have been written on the topic of making a partner feel loved. Perhaps most popular is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The premise is simple; everyone speaks a different "love language" and feels most loved based on their "language." For example, some people feel most loved when they receive gifts from their partner while others feel most loved when they get quality time with their partner. The trick is to figure out the love language of your partner and cater to those needs.
Ask Your Partner
"What do I do that makes you feel loved?" It's a question that can not only reveal some important details for loving your partner, but the mere asking of the question demonstrates a real desire to make them feel loved. Pay close attention to the answer, as this will reveal what you can do to show love for them. Not everyone wants flowers and back rubs, so don't pay attention to what society deems "displays of love" if you know your partner thinks otherwise. But if your partner wants flowers and back rubs, give them in abundance!
Showing your love to someone isn't just a one-time, grand gesture. Instead, consider it an ongoing process that you have myriad opportunities to improve upon. Ask, "Do you feel valued and loved?" frequently and if the answer isn't stellar, ask about ways you can better demonstrate your love. If it sounds like a lot of work it's because it is, but the dividends of such an investment are worth the work.
The Golden Rule
Turn to the saying, "Treat others as you want to be treated" when trying to think of ways to show your love. What habits do you have that would drive you crazy were your partner to start displaying them? If your habit of not picking up after yourself or finishing the milk without buying more might be making you seem less considerate (and less loving) it's worth it to try to quit. Consideration for your partner can go a long way in demonstrating love, but being inconsiderate can chip away at an otherwise solid relationship.
Not everyone finds love, so when you do, it's important to cultivate it and maintain it as much as you can. If your partner reveals they most feel loved by receiving love letters, it's time to get good at writing them frequently. If your partner feels loved by being cooked for, roll up your sleeves and get cooking. You'll likely find that your partner starts reciprocating and showing you how much they love you too.