How important is it to show someone you love them? Very!
Are you in love? Isn’t it wonderful? Every day you share with your person is a new and wonderful day. You hope that you feel like this forever.
Unfortunately you won’t. That early, heady love is amazing but it’s not sustainable. Doctors say that if people felt forever the way they do in the first six months of a relationship it would actually kill them. Too many endorphins can damage the heart. Ironic no?
Fortunately, the next phase of love, the settling in for the long game, can be a wonderful thing too. If you do it right.
So, how do you show someone you love them truly?
# 1- Love them as they want to be loved.
I truly believe that one of the best tools in a successful relationship is Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. Go to Amazon right now and download it onto your Kindle.
The premise behind his book is that there are five love languages, five ways that people express and receive love.
The languages are: Quality Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and Giving of Gifts.
For each person one of those things is the thing that makes them feel the most loved when they are done unto them. When a partner tries to love them using a different love language they don’t feel loved.
My love language is Quality Time – I feel loved when someone is truly present with me, listening to me, focusing on me. My ex-husbands’ love language was Physical Touch – he felt love when I was holding his hand, hugging him or, yep, that too.
Unfortunately, the language that we spoke best with each other was Acts of Service – we did things for each other, like changing the oil in the car or going to the grocery store. Stuff got done but neither of us felt loved.
Check out the 5 Love Language at www.5lovelanguages.com. There you will find a short quiz that you and your partner can both take and you can start loving each other in a way that will work.
#2 – Talk to them.
For women, an important part of being loved is feeling connected. Men often don’t understand what that means, to be connected, for a women.
I have a client who wants his girlfriend to know that he loves her. He thinks that the best way to do that is by making sure they have good memories. So, he arranges trips and dinners and other expensive things, hoping to create wonderful memories.
His girlfriend has expressed her dismay that he is spending so much money on her and he brushed it off, telling her that she was worth it. She wasn’t happy.
I suggested that he tell her that he recognizes and respects her concerns and that he has arrange some free things that they can do together to build memories. She was happy.
For women, being seen, heard, understood and acknowledged is an important part of feeling loved.
#3 – Let them take care of you.
Everyone enjoys taking care of someone but many of us are really bad at letting people take care of us. One of the best things that you can do to show someone you love them is to let them take care of you.
Think about how good it feels when you do something nice for someone. How it connects you to that person and makes you feel good about yourself.
So imagine how good it would feel for your partner to do something for you. So let him! Even if you can do it for yourself, let him do it. Let him feel good about helping you. It is an excellent way to show someone you love them – to let them show you the same.
#4 – Share their passions.
I have a client whose boyfriend LOVES working on cars. LOVES it. He worked on cars with his father and he does so now with his son and he would rather work on cars then just about anything.
This love was driving my client crazy because he wanted to spend time with her but also wanted to work on his car. So i suggested a compromise.
I suggested that she try to get interested in some aspects of his car work and learn from him so that she could spend time with him. In exchange, he would be willing to spend some time with her, doing things other than car work.
By supporting your partner’s passions you are letting them know that you respect and love who they are as a person. And sulking in a corner because you don’t like what he is doing isn’t going to buy you any love at all.
#5 – Support their goals.
I know it has happened to all of us that our partner comes up with some pie-in-the sky idea that is the new driving force in their lives. It’s exciting and new and all they want to talk about.
And I am sure it has happened to all of us that we think our partner’s new idea is crazy.
I remember in college my soccer-playing, skiing, manly-man of a boyfriend turned to me after a dance performance and announced that he wanted to be a dancer. I actually laughed in his face. This was 30 years ago and I still remember the hurt look in his eyes. He never became a dancer.
To this day I wish I had supported him. That’s what people who love each other do for each other. He might never had become a dancer but having the person who loved him believe in him would have been such a gift. Even better would have not being on the receiving end of my derision.
So support them. No matter what.
#6 – Don’t be critical.
You know how you feel when you go to visit your in-laws and your mother-in-law makes some passive aggressive, disparaging comment about something you did. You know how shitty that makes you feel? And you don’t even really like your mother-in-law.
So imagine what your partner, who loves you, must feel like when you are critical of them.
I have a client whose wife gives him the one over every time they are headed out the door. She tells him if his hair is out of place or if his shirt is right or if he is carrying the right bag for the task ahead. And while she is quick to say Your pants have a hole in them she never says You are perfect today, honey. Thank you.
My client at first tried to anticipate what his wife might want but as time went on he only felt resentment towards her criticism. He actually started not only making choices that he knew would antagonize her but he ignored whatever she mentioned at the door.
So be careful not to be critical. If you have something to say, say it with love. And if it doesn’t need to be said, don’t say it. Life will go on if his hair isn’t just right.
#7 – Forgive them for things big and small.
There is nothing more insidious in a relationship than not forgiving someone for a wrong. And for some reason couples who love each other are really, really good at not forgiving each other. If someone does something wrong nothing they can do will make up for that wrong. And that wrong will be played out verbally, over and over, forever.
People are only human. We do things that hurt people. Rarely do we do things to hurt someone on purpose. And yet, in relationships, we often take the thing that someone does to us so personally that we refuse to believe that they didn’t set out to hurt us. And that is unforgivable.
I have a client whose partner was so late getting home one night that he missed a date they had planned. He was delayed at work and then got stuck in traffic and it was a disaster. She took it personally. If you loved me, she said, you would have gotten home on time. And she truly believed what she said.
The reality is is that he DOES love her. He just didn’t allow enough time. And he blew it, but he does love her. And it’s important for her to understand that. And it makes it easier to forgive. He was late. He didn’t plan well. He blew it. And he does love her.
Of course another piece of forgiveness is that the wrong-doer must apologize for the hurt caused. Because therein lies the issue that will carry forth forever – the hurt. Not so much the actions but the resulting feelings.
So don’t take things personally. And apologize for the hurt. Forgive and move on.
#8 – Never show contempt.
If there is one thing that kills love it’s contempt. Do anything that you can to keep it out of your relationship.
Contempt seems to rear its ugly head when wrongs fester, when people don’t forgive, when being critical is the norm and respect is lost. Contempt manifests itself with derisive comments about your partner, comments about who they are as a person.
My ex-husband had a really hard time getting things done around the house. I told him, over and over, that if he was my employee I would fire him. And I wouldn’t say it in a loving way. I would say it dismissively, almost with a wave of my hand. I can only imagine how it must have felt to be on the receiving end of my contempt.
Therapists say that when they see contempt in a relationship they know that it’s close to over. So if you find yourself acting contemptuously STOP, assess and figure out what needs to be done.
Don’t let contempt kill love. Because it will.
Of course there are the obvious ways to show someone that you love them. You hug them and kiss them and have sex with them and tell them that they are wonderful and hang out with their friends and visit their mother. All of those things are an excellent way to show you someone you love them.
But they will have a hard time accepting your love if you aren’t willing to forgive them, if you can’t support them and are constantly critical of them. Back up your kisses with words and actions and they will know that you are the one for them.
If you have read this far you must really love someone and want them to know.
Let me help you, NOW, before they get away!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get started!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.