To borrow a turn of phrase from Hugh Grant’s charming Prime Minister in a 2004 sitcom; “love, actually is all around us”. It’s easy to look past it, but it’s there! We may not see it, because modern life isn’t really conducive to it as we bustle our way through life, and the minutiae of work, money and all of the little things that make up the day to day weigh heavily on our minds. Look around your home and you’ll likely see testaments to the love in your life all around you. You’ll see it in images of yourself and your partner staring back at you through framed photographs. You’ll see it in the faces of your beaming children. You’ll even see it in the eyes of the pets that await your return from work with eager anticipation. But love is a two way street. We give it as much as we get it. Sometimes we get an all consuming urge to show someone special to us that we love them… But how?
I just called to say…
Is it enough to just say it? Can we distill something as powerful and complicated as love in just three little words? Even Green Day said “I love you’s not enough, I’m lost for words”. Some of us just can’t articulate our love verbally and (unfortunately) this can lead our significant others to doubt how much we feel it. On the other hand some of us go a little too far the other way, using those three important words as a punctuation mark with which they sign off every phone call or leave it hanging in the air as they walk out of the door every morning.
Sometimes we just have to say “I love you” with a gesture. It needn’t be a grand, sweeping (or expensive) gesture. Sometimes showing your love lies between the little and the large. If you’re struggling to come up with a novel yet meaningful way to let someone know you love them, here are some suggestions for you to use or adapt as you see fit…
Show you listen
Be honest. Do you really listen to your partner or do you just wait for your turn to speak? Some of us (mostly, but not exclusively men) have a tendency to become so wrapped in our thoughts or what’s immediately in front of us that we don’t actively listen to our loved ones or retain the information they give us. Showing that we retain the information they give us can help them to feel loved and valued. Even a tiny gesture like making sure their car is filled with petrol in the morning because they happened to mention that they hate having to go to the petrol station on the way to work can speak volumes.
Don’t bottle up your feelings, be open and honest
A lot of us have a tendency (especially early in relationships) not to be ourselves but to try to be the person we assume our partner wants us to be. This is rarely healthy or sustainable. It can cause us to bottle up our feelings and harbour resentments. The best gift you can give your partner is often to be open and honest about who and what you are. Don’t try to be who you assume they want. Just try to be the best possible version of yourself.
Say it with flowers (or plants)
Nothing is nicer than coming home to an unexpected bouquet of flowers or a beautiful new house plant. Not only do they look pretty, proximity to them improves our mental health and cognitive function.
image used with permission Pixaby
If you must buy gifts, make them personal
In today’s consumerism obsessed culture, we can easily forget that the thought behind a gift is more important than the gift itself and certainly more important than its monetary value. Personal or customised gifts are great because they make the gift more about the recipient than the gift itself. Gestures like this can be large or small, from jewellry engraved with a special message to private number plates to a decorative film cell of their favourite movie. If you have a limited budget, making your own present or creating a piece of art can be the most meaningful expression of love there is.
Give them control of the remote
Let’s be honest with ourselves… How often is the evening’s televisual entertainment your partner’s choice and how often is it yours, or a compromise. Relinquishing control of the remote and making an effort to enjoy what they want to watch (even if it’s not what you would choose) can speak volumes.
Give them a massage
After a hard day’s work or a stressful week, both men and women can benefit from a relaxing massage. Many people get nervous about this prospect fearing that they might get it wrong and do more harm than good. This guide will help you, if that sounds familiar. You’ll both benefit from the intimacy. If it leads to something naughty, great but if it doesn’t don’t try to force the matter. Sometimes there are other, more potent forms of intimacy!
*this is a collaborative post*