By: Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
Do you water "the garden" that is
your relationship? Whether you're in a new relationship, or have
been married for many years, it's important to behave in a way that
your partner feels cared for. Some people truly don't know what that
looks like - and others love the other but forget to demonstrate
In my couples
therapy practice, the people who struggle the most typically are not
tending to their relationship gardens. Reasons for that are many and
can include the routine of life, jobs and family, a build-up of
resentment or simply never being modeled "how" to "be" in a healthy
relationship. The good new is, whatever the reason, there are many
easy ways to show love to your partner - you just need to make it a
priority to do it!
10 simple ways to make your partner feel loved:
1. Ask them how their day was
- and sincerely be interested. Your partner will feel cared
for if you demonstrate an interest in their day. If you don't
normally do this - and their response is a one-word, "good" or
"ok," press on and ask more questions.
2. Leave "love notes" on post-its in places for them to find.
Simply write a one-sentence message showing your affection
for them and leave the note in their lunch, on top of their
pillow, on the bathroom mirror or any other creative place you
can think of. For the one moment they find your message, you
will likely put a smile on their face.
3. Ask them about something that interests them. If your
partner has a hobby, sport or something else they like to do,
particularly one that you don't share the same interest in, ask
them about it. Even if it's something you don't remotely care
about, try to "care" being that your partner does. They will
probably be pleasantly surprised - and feel cared for that you
4. Give them a massage. Physical touch is a great way to
demonstrate love. Massaging away your partner's aches and pains
is a loving act that says, "I want you to relax and feel good."
The intention around this should not be expectations around
sexual intimacy though if it happens naturally, than great!
5. Plan a well thought out surprise. Spend some time
planning a date, outdoor adventure or something different that
you can do with your partner. They will feel loved knowing that
you took the time to be creative and organize something fun for
the two of you.
6. Say "Thank you." It's way too easy to forget to say
"thank you" in a relationship, particularly a longer one. Those
two little words demonstrate appreciation for your partner's
efforts - which will feel nice to them.
7. Send a text or e-mail during day with a loving message.
What a wonderful thing to get an unexpected reminder in the
middle of their workday of how much you care about them. Sending
an e-mail or a text is a great way to remind them of this.
8. Offer to watch the kids so they can do "their thing."
As wonderful as having a family with children is, it can mean
less time for each of you to do the things that keep you
centered - or that you simply enjoy. When the weekend is
approaching, give your partner some time off so they can go out
and do "their thing." They will feel cared for by your
thoughtfulness - and be able to enjoy having the unexpected
freedom to do what they like.
9. Sincerely apologize when it's needed. We all make
mistakes and can unintentionally hurt each other. The most
important thing is that you take responsibility for your
actions. If you've done or said something that you know was
hurtful to your partner, sincerely tell them you are sorry. The
act of validating their feelings along with an apology for your
role is a loving act. It tells them they are important to you
and you didn't mean to hurt them.
10. Say the words, "I love you." How could I make a list
of "10 simple ways to make your partner feel loved" without
stating the obvious? A lot of times, particularly in longer
relationships, couples forget to say those three important
words. I've had clients tell me, "Why do I need to say it when
she/he should know that already?" My advice is to say the words
anyway. It might not be as obvious to them as you think.
Just like a beautiful garden filled
with lush plants and flowers requires tending to, intimate
relationships need their soil to be watered. One way to tend to your
own "relationship garden" is to remember to say the words and do the
actions that make it flourish - and each other feel loved.
Lisa Brookes Kift is a
psychotherapist and author of
The Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples and
The Marriage Refresher Course for Couples. She more of her
relationship articles, tips, tools and advice in
The Toolbox at