Tell them that you think he looks hot, smells yummy, or whatever the case may be. And do so in the moment. Rave about his old T-shirt after he puts it on Saturday morning. As you hug, tell them that you think they smells sexy. Remark that their rear looks good in that pair of jeans they’re wearing around the house Sunday afternoon. “You serve as your beloved’s best mirror,” says Jim Walkup, Doctorate of Ministry, a licensed marriage counselor who practices in New York City and White Plains, New York. “Where else will they find a sense of someone appreciating their essence and lifting it up?” Plus, by verbalizing their best qualities, you recommit to what’s great about them and the relationship, says Walkup. “You’re reminding yourself why you married themin the first place.”
Put your phone down
An email, text, or phone call will always need a response. But do your best to give your partner your undivided attention when you’re together. Concentrate on them during dinner, when you’re in the car, on date night. “Nothing says ‘you’re important to me’ more than putting boundaries around all of the possible interruptions that impact sharing and being close,” says Walkup. Make eye contact and focus on them during conversations. “It will send the message that you’re fully engaged in what they are saying,” says Marni Feuerman, a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Boca Raton, Florida. “The message we send to our partners when they talk and we stare at our phones is that the person we’re emailing or texting with is more important than they are,” says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash and author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing).
Look good for Them
Wear that dress he adores. Your hair in that high pony he likes. The red heels he raves about. This shows that you don’t take him for granted, even if you’ve been together for years. And you’ll feel more alive by taking such measures, says Walkup. Research on couples around the world found that the happiest couples prioritized staying attractive for each other (along with giving back rubs and having good communication).
Hug Them (a lot)
Nothing makes you feel more attached than a hug, say Charles Schmitz and Elizabeth Schmitz (a.k.a. Doctors Schmitz), love and marriage experts and award-winning authors. Instead of giving each other a quick peck on the lips as you venture out for the day, embrace for a bit and let the touching linger. “Hugging releases oxytocin in your brain and will make you and your partner feel more connected and attached,” says Syrtash. And you’ll likely not want to let go either.
Cook Their favorite meal
It’s cliche but true: The way to a man’s heart (or to a woman’s, for that matter) is through his stomach. Make his favorite meatballs for dinner, even if you aren’t a meat eater. On Sunday morning, surprise him with your homemade pancake recipe that he gushes about. “Just the fact that you know what he loves and have put forth extra effort will earn you mucho brownie points,” says Walkup. “Make sure you both have the time to savor it and take it in.”
Say thanks for the small stuff
Express your gratitude—even for something as small as taking out the trash or driving the kids to soccer practice. “We often begin to take things for granted or think, ‘He’s supposed to do that anyway, so why should I thank him?’” says Feuerman. But for the sake of your marriage, it’s important to say “thank you”—a direct and easy way to convey your appreciation. “Never saying thanks will erode at the relationship,” says Feuerman. “Small things lead to big changes in relationships,” says Syrtash. “You’ll likely be surprised at how effective doing something small is.” It will help improve his attitude and encourage him to continue doing those little acts.
Get Them something when you get something for yourself
Ran to the local coffee shop for a bagel after the gym? Get one for him, too. Went downstairs for a bottle of water? Grab an extra. This only takes a second and shows that he’s on your mind.
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