These days, you and your partner may feel less like lovers and more like co-workers—or even just acquaintances who see each other in passing. It’s important to keep your relationship strong, even during the most difficult parenting times. To help you keep the flame at least flickering, here are five ways for you and your partner to show your love for one another.
1. Use your words
Words are powerful. We can choose our words to build one another up, or to tear each other down. Use your words to show appreciation for your spouse’s contributions to the household. To get more personal, give compliments—be honest about what you like about your spouse, whether it’s physical appearance, brilliance, kindness, or anything that you find positive and attractive.
2. Pay attention
Sometimes it’s okay to just “be together,” even if you’re each doing your own thing. But, this is no substitute for real quality time. Take at least a few minutes each day to talk (and listen!) with each other. Put the phones away, turn off the TV, and look at each other. Maybe take a walk, or maybe just sit on the couch and talk about what matters to each of you.
3. Give (and receive) gifts
We’re not talking about expensive flowers or jewelry here—just some little something that lets your spouse know that you were thinking about them, and no one else. You might be at the mall and see a poster of your partner’s favorite movie on the clearance rack, or maybe he passes by a fruit stand on the way home from work and picks up a few of your favorites. The gift itself isn’t what matters; it’s simply a symbol of your spouse’s importance in your life, wherever you are.
4. Perform an act
You’re both so tired at the end of the day, and every action can seem daunting. Show your love by doing the little things (or even the not-so-little things). When you see that they have finally sat down in the living room and left their glass of tea in the kitchen by mistake, bring it to him. If one of you has started a load of laundry, and the other person notices it’s still sitting there soggy in the washer, take a few seconds and toss it in the dryer. Anytime one of you can take up the other’s slack, it not only makes the household run more smoothly, it cements your love and the value you place on each other.
5. Touch a little
Even if bedroom intimacy is out of the question, a simple touch here and there goes a long way toward maintaining your connection as a couple. It eases insecurities, boosts the “feel good” brain chemistry, and makes for a quick and easy way to show you still care. Try holding hands, a shoulder squeeze, or even just a brush of the arm as you walk by.