On the eve of Valentines Day, it’s entirely possible that you’re sweating the big day tomorrow. There’s a lot of pressure to prove just how MUCH you love someone one day a year which means you’re having to do a check-in on where you’re at, where you should be at, how you compare to other couples in your same place… oh look at that. More sweat.
We here at Intent.com are of the camp that believes that proving your love isn’t a once-a-year kind of thing. Instead we hope to communicate love and commitment all year. Truthfully, a grand gesture can do wonders, but they will never measure up if they aren’t met with consistently showing up. The little things add up and it doesn’t mean you have to be a well of little things. Perhaps finding your few little things that you do on a regular basis is the difference between needing one all-out extravaganza in early spring.
How to do that? Here are 3 small ways you can consistently say ‘I love you’ all year long:
- Love notes don’t have to go out of style.
Not all of us are Shakespeare. We get that. The nice thing about words are they are an unprompted gesture that come right from the heart. This means you don’t have to write a sonnet to have the effect of a sonnet. Instead look for little ways to communicate love in your voice. Maybe that’s leaving post-it notes with short messages around the house. Maybe that’s a text message when you notice something your partner did while they’re not around. “Thank you so much for taking out the trash. It was such a good surprise to come home and realize I didn’t have to do it.” It sounds lame, but what a message like that is really communicating is “I recognize your effort and I appreciate it. Your gesture landed successfully with it’s intended audience.” What you end up building is a partnership of trust, knowing that that you are both looking for the ways each of you shows up for the other instead of looking for one another’s flaws. We tend to harp on the things that make us upset more easily than the things that floor us, so get in the habit of putting those good moments in writing. Celebrate them! Love notes don’t have to go out of style.
- “…because I know you love…”
Part of being loved is the special feeling of being known. I remember a time that a boyfriend interjected politely on a story a friend was telling about an injury because he knew that any stories involving blood would immediately make me nauseous. It wasn’t overbearing. It wasn’t oppressive. He did it kindly and what it communicated to me was that he was aware of what I loved and couldn’t handle. As my partner, he was agreeing to the team effort of making sure we were both okay to the best of his ability. It’s the same way someone saves the pepperoni they won’t eat from their pizza because they know you love it. It’s nothing huge. It feels a little weird just putting it in writing, but it’s one of those things that differentiates the people who know you from the people who don’t. They are the people who have invested the time and so now they know from experience that you love dogs, you hate rollercoasters and you would always prefer not to drive at night. It’s the knowing. It’s always changing and it’s very special.
- Being open to impact.
Having breakfast with a newly wed couple recently, it was very noticeable that not only were they in love, these two were also very much best friends. They joked. They asked permission before interjecting into one another’s situations. They were patient and listened. Later when debriefing with the wife, we boiled it down to both of them being open to be impacted by the other. Each partner had loves and dislikes. They had histories and they had future hopes. But they chose someone who they hoped to be changed by the knowing. Some of those ways were small. When they moved in together, the wife brought her favorite natural body wash. The husband fell in love with it and adopted it as his own. The wife had never thought much about wine but when dating her future husband who worked at a vineyard and was very passionate about local growing, she adopted a lifestyle of learning and now invites many to wine nights at their house because it is a way of inviting friends and family into a now mutual appreciate for it. We loved that neither husband nor wife lost any part of themselves. Instead they became more by the introduction of one another and instead of fighting against what their partner brought to the table, they were always so eager to explore what the other loved. If you’re in a relationship with ANYONE (we’re talking friendship, family, dating), that person is their own lifetime of experiences and knowledge. Dig in there! Find out what they know. Learn about where they’ve been. Don’t skip over the simple questions because you think you should be past that. Stay open to being impacted by the people you love and respect and watch how that causes them to do the same!
How do you communicate love? How is it best communicated to you?