Every year when Valentine’s Day cards and stuffed animals appear in the stores around January second, I may roll my eyes at the sight. I mean, have some respect; I haven’t even taken down my Christmas tree yet! However, I know I’ll also be that wife at the store the day before February 14 who spends an hour picking the best card for my husband and then locating the Dove chocolates because he loves dark chocolate.
While it may annoy me to see pink cards and stuffed animals in the store two days into the new year, it is a faithful reminder on the calendar that allows me to pause and consider how well I’m loving my spouse, especially in the day-to-day.
Gary Chapman’s “5 Love Languages" is a great place to start when considering how to show your special someone extra love in simple ways at this time of year-- or any time of year, really! The 5 Love Languages helps couples and family members better understand how to give and receive love in meaningful ways. It also provides a quiz can help you learn your own primary love language as well as your partner's love language. Better understanding how your special someone most enjoys to receive love can be a big help in deciding how you can give love.
During this season of love, consider these simple ways to show love to your special someone:
Hold the door open. Forget feminism. Hold the door open for him or visa versa to allow the other person to enter first. And when I mean hold the door open, I mean hold it open until the other person is inside. Don't let the door kick their heels on the way in. This is a super simple gesture that communicates putting others before yourself, which is a healthy daily practice. If I can brag on my husband for just one moment, he frequently holds the door into our own home open for me. Even when his arms are full of grocery bags, he manages to keep the door open for me to enter first, and I notice it every time.
Help with household tasks. What is THE household task that your partner hates the most? Laundry? Cleaning dishes? Vacuuming? Dusting? I'd venture to say that everyone has that one chore they'll do anything to get out of doing. Me, I don't like doing the laundry because I always fail at remembering to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer before they start to stink (oops!). Consider picking up that small chore every now and then to show your partner love. Sometimes the most practical task is the one that can relieve stress or free some time for your fiancee or spouse and help them feel how much you care.
Send a thoughtful message. Why wait for Valentine's Day, birthdays or holidays to express what someone means to you when you have access to that handheld communication device every hour of everyday? Tell her one thing you love about her, or share a favorite memory of her that makes you smile. If you're feeling especially ambitious, write a note on a sheet of paper and leave it next to her coffee mug for her to see in the morning. When I was young and would go to overnight summer camp for a week, my mom would hide cards and notes in my duffle bag letting me know she wished me a fun week and that she missed me. I loved that, maybe even more so as an adult now, and I still have the cards and notes she wrote me then.
Hold hands. Whether you love holding hands with your fiancee or spouse or think it's unnecessary, holding hands is a sweet gesture that can communicate "I like being with you" without saying anything. Science even says that holding hands can increase feelings of bonding and trust and reduce stress and pain. But if hand holding isn't your thing, extra kisses or holding onto that hug two seconds longer can communicate the same message.
Pick up a small, thoughtful gift. If you're out at the store, what things remind you of your special someone? When inspiration strikes, let it move you to action. Buy that bottle of Dr. Pepper. Surprise him with his favorite dessert. Knowing your favorite person is thinking of you is a wonderful way to show you care. I'm reminded of my husband Zachary when I see Dr. Pepper and Oreos. I think about how much he enjoys them, so when I see either item in the store and think of him, I buy it for him!
Listen. "Linda, listen listen." Attentively listening to what the other person cares about or what weighs on her heart in that moment is a sacred gift in today's society where it's normal to text and Tweet all day long. Giving your full attention (and eye contact) during a conversation with your sweetie can say, "your conversation with me is the most important to me right now."
Offer to do mundane tasks together. Go grocery shopping together. Drive with her to run errands. Take a walk after dinner. Fold laundry with him. Watch her favorite tv show with her. For some people, showing that you want to spend time together not only when life is lively and exciting can be the most meaningful. Being present in the small, daily things that make our world run forward can speak love.
Skip the chocolates and teddy bears. Consider what things can make your partner feel the most loved and how you would like to receive love. Don't be afraid to straight up tell your partner how you'd feel appreciated by him or her... mind reading hasn't become available to the everyday consumer yet.
As an extra bonus, most of these simple love tactics cost you nothing but a few moments of your day. Happy Heart Day!
Images from Kathryn & Chris's engagement session.
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