Making your partner feel special and loved requires a little knowledge and some effort. But it’s these simple and often small gestures that help express and reinforce the love you have for one another. Below are a just a few ways to make your partner feel special and improve the quality of your intimate relationships by showing your appreciation in the way they like to receive it, taking responsibility for your emotions, supporting their goals, and sending sweet messages throughout the day.
Learn to Speak Your Partner’s Love Language
Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” has changed the way many people talk about getting their needs met in relationships. Chapman makes the case that people receive messages of love in different ways, which he refers to as their “love language.” The five languages he identifies are:
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Physical touch
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of service
Perhaps your primary love language is words of affirmation and your partner’s is quality time. Hearing from them how wonderful you are is one thing that communicates love to you, but that love language might not work for them. Instead, your partner may feel most loved when doing an activity together. Take time to discover which love language works for your partner and then make an effort to “speak” their love language.
Learn to Self-Regulate
While love languages can help communicate understanding and appreciation, according to a 2017 study published in Personal Relationships, relationship satisfaction is less determined by aligned love languages and more determined by the ability of both partners to self-regulate. Taking responsibility for your moods and not expecting your partner to make everything better is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.
A 2010 study of partners working towards positive changes in their relationships found that positive relationship evaluations were correlated more with self-focused improvement than with partner-focused improvement. Especially when you are in conflict with one another, focusing on your own growth and taking responsibility for your contributions is the best way to improve the relationship.
Share Chores and Responsibilities
According to a 2018 review in the scientific journal Emotion, people experience gratitude when they perceive their partner to be doing something for them over themselves. You may feel like your to-do list never seems to end. But doing things small or large that are on your partner’s to-do list, even when you’ve got a full plate yourself, can show how special they are to you. Ask your partner, “What can I do to make your day better?”
Support Their Goals
While your own self-growth is very important for relationship satisfaction, your partner still wants to feel like you are invested in the relationship and their goals, too. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, people who received active messages of support from their partners for their self-expansion reported higher relationship satisfaction.
Send Sweet Messages
According to a 2004 review, sending spontaneous text messages helps to convey a sense of continuous presence in your partner’s life. The feeling that conversation could be taken up at any time (respecting of healthy boundaries) and even across distance, communicates a sense of closeness and helps construct a sense of shared space. During the time you spend apart, consider sending a text that shows your appreciation. Let them know you’re thinking about them. It can be as simple as a flirty message, sharing something that reminded you of them, or simply asking them how their day is going.