There are a million ways to show the one you love just how much you care. These loving acts can make the difference between a mutually supportive and emotionally engaging relationship and one that you just let happen on its own. The more energy you put into loving, the more love you will get in return. It’s that simple. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Learn to flirt. I know you remember how, but perhaps you could step up your game a little. Couples who engage in flirtation with each other have more fulfilling lives in general and much better sex than those who just go to bed and “do it.”
2. Listen to your lover. I’d been using terms of endearment when checking in with my mate, but after a couple months, she asked me to call her by her name instead of “Honey.” It made her feel that my words were meant just for her. It was an easy change that paid good dividends. She felt heard and got what she needed, and anytime that can happen, it’s a good thing.
3. Experience new things together. Couples who do things together that they have never done before get closer in the process because those new experiences release a hormone called oxytocin, which is also known as “the cuddle hormone.” Even if you were a little anxious about going into that shark cage, you will have many stories to tell later and a lot of energy to share.
4. Keep each other healthy. Don’t become a dictator, but when you see the one you love making a poor choice, say something. I like it when my partner brings me a bottle of water and takes my soft drink away. I’m all for healthy choices, but I need a little help making them from time to time.
5. Build something together. It doesn’t matter what. It can be as simple as planting new flowers or as dynamic as starting a business. Yes, there will be some work, but the closeness you get as a result can make it seem more like a break from your regular life than a chore.
6. Talk about your deepest feelings. Being able to share your greatest joys and pain will deepen your relationship. When someone understands your losses, doesn’t judge you for your feelings, and will support you in your healing, that sounds like love to me. Just remember not to turn your partner into your therapist.
7. Go for an annual relationship checkup. If you’ve been in couples counseling, then going back to visit your therapist should be an easy thing to do. You are not starting over; on the contrary, you are consolidating the gains you have made and celebrating your growth. If you don’t have a therapist, the leader of your house of worship is a good person to turn to as well.
8. Remember your vows — even if you aren’t married. Hearing that the one you love wants to be with you forever is a wonderful way to go through life. It’s emotional food for your soul. It’s heartwarming when the person who matters most to you reminds you that they feel the same way.
9. Be kind to in-laws and relatives. If you are involved with someone, you are also involved with his or her friends and family. Chances are that you may not like everyone in your partner’s life, but that’s normal. You need to remember that it isn’t your place to be critical of the people in your partner’s life, but it’s good to listen when your partner wants to talk about family. Being neutral in this area can make life easier.
10. Teach your love what you know best. I have sung and played guitar all my life, and my love really enjoys it (most of the time). Recently she has started singing along with me, and I’m showing her a little about the guitar. It’s fun to share what you know with your partner. I recommend it.
These are just a few ways to become closer to the one you love and who loves you. It’s never too late to increase the connection between you.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith
©2017 Barton Goldsmith
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.