The early days of a relationship are often pretty sweet: You might get butterflies when you see their text pop up on your phone; they might sweep you off your feet with a romantic surprise; every date feels more magical than the last. But as time goes on, those fireworks eventually fade into a slow burn. Not only is that normal, it's healthy. By the time the intensity of a new relationship wears off, you're left with sturdy, long-lasting love underneath. Once the honeymoon phase ends, showing your long-term partner that you love them is still important — even if it might be trickier to keep things fresh. Saying "I love you" is nice, but showing it is even better.
Well, luckily for you, I'm in a long-term relationship, too, and I've put a lot of thought into sweet, sappy, and serious ways to keep the spark alive. I've brainstormed 15 ways you can show your partner how much they mean to you, beyond simply telling them so. Actions speak louder than words, so sometimes, all it takes is a little effort to make the person you love feel special and cared for. Ready to make their day?
Sneak a sweet note into their pocket.
Leave them a love note in their pocket or tucked away somewhere in their home.
Cook their favorite meal.
What's their favorite meal? Whether it's their grandma's tacos or the veal parm from the restaurant down the street, try your best to make a rendition of it.
Plan a sentimental date night.
Whether you recreate your first date or finally treat yourself to the luxe date night you've always dreamed of, one special night can make a world of difference.
Send flowers just because.
If they're not into flowers, try sending a leafy green plant instead.
Pick up their favorite snack next time you're at the store.
Next time you're at the store and you spot their favorite chocolate or bag of chips, grab it and save it for the next time you see them.
Send an out-of-the-blue text saying you miss them.
After a few years of being with someone, it's easy to fall into the mundane routine of only texting to make a plan or quickly check in. Spice things up by shooting them a romantic text just because.
Make an effort to get into their favorite show.
You know that show they love that you absolutely can't stand? Make an effort to get into it so you can watch with them and discuss.
Make sure your fridge is stocked with their favorite beverage before they come over.
Whether they'd love a large glass of wine after work or an ice cold glass of Smart Water, show them you care by stocking your fridge with what you know they'll appreciate.
Let them vent.
Ask them how their day was and really listen to the answer. Ask them follow-up questions, ask if there's anything else you can do to help whatever might be bothering them, and genuinely care about whatever it is that they're going through.
Turn your phone off before date night.
Next time the two of you go out to dinner, try turning off your phone so that your attention is solely on them.
Try out their hobbies.
Do they love chess? Teach yourself the rules so you can play a game against them. Are they always asking you to join them on a run? Now's the time to say yes.
Tell them exactly what it is you love about them.
It's easy to just assume your partner knows how much you love them after a few years together, but hearing it again never hurts. The more specific you can get, the better.
Wake up early for extra cuddles.
Set your alarm a little earlier than you normally would to get a nice snuggle session in before you both get up.
Put their towel in the dryer for a few minutes before they get out of the shower.
There is truly nothing as wonderful as having a nice, warm, fluffy towel waiting for you as soon as you get out of the shower. Treat them to this small luxury.
Spend quality time with their loved ones.
While the beginning stages of a relationship are all about getting to know their friends and family, the later parts are more about genuinely making an effort with them. Show your partner how much you love them by treating their inner circle as though they were your own.
OK, now go off and make your partner feel as loved as humanly possible.