Actions really can speak louder than words.
If you’ve been with a partner for an extended amount of time, you know that reality isn’t about constant butterflies and sparks. You fall into a routine and things can become mundane or cyclical to no one’s fault. “As your relationship evolves, less time is spent on drooling on each other. It becomes more about making life happen and managing our busy schedules,” behavioral scientist and relationship coach Clarissa Silva tells Bustle. “The routinization of our daily lives can make us under-appreciate our significant other. Making an effort to convey the depth of what you feel can bring you back to the honeymoon phase of the relationship and prevent possible future resentment, feelings of neglect, or distance.”
While it's important to remember not to push or rush a connection, there are some ways you can feel closer to your partner and make them feel loved without forcing things along. Believe it or not, making small adjustments to foster a newfound love or closeness can bring you together in a way you may not have experienced before.
All relationships require lots of effort and maintenance in order for it to be successful both short- and long-term; however, there are some little tricks to help grow that depth and connection, where you can amplify those feelings of love and keep those fluttering wings flapping in your stomach.
Of course, love requires constant time and attention to keep it going. Once you commit to a relationship, effort and care is still needed to be put in thereafter. Don't assume simple tricks are enough to keep your connection alive. However, as long as you keep strengthening your relationship and sharing that love in a reciprocal manner, experts say you're bound to have a higher probability of working out in the long run. Here are 12 ideas on how to make someone feel loved and deepen your connection, according to experts.
Spend Quality Time Together
Whether it be planning a weekly date night or having a night in together, always carve out time to be with each other. And when you're spending that quality time together, let things flow naturally and give your partner your undivided attention. "Spend time watching a movie together and [don’t] check your phone or email," says Safran. "Show that you want to be in their company and make this a regular plan."
Figure Out Their Love Language
Trying to figure out how to make your boyfriend or girlfriend feel loved? Figure out their love language. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five love languages — words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch — that we use to express and understand love. Everyone has a love language in terms of how they communicate in romantic relationships and what they desire, or at the very least, certain types of love languages they may respond to more than others. So, pay attention to what your partner's is and talk about how you can support each other. "Find out what type of love language they have, and make sure to do things that will make them happy," says Safran.
Give A Passionate Kiss
When the moment takes you, kissing is always a good idea — given you have your partner’s consent, of course. "Looking passionately into their eyes before you kiss them" is a good way to build connection, relationship coaches Dana Lam and Martin Kupper tell Bustle. "So often we go with the flow and kisses are just a little peck here or there." But if you take a moment to try to be a better kisser and deepen that kiss, your partner will certainly notice, Lam and Kupper say.
Make Eye Contact
Show gratitude and passion by keeping eye contact. "When you take the time to reflect upon and deepen the gratitude you feel towards your partner, they can feel it," matchmaker and Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman tells Bustle. "It's almost like a 'vibe' you give off, and it can be conveyed in the quality of your touch, or even in the manner in which you make eye contact." Additionally, a 2016 study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin showed that the mere act of eye contact inspires its own kind of intimacy — that the moment eyes connect, it triggers a sense for the other person's state of mind and agency as an individual human being, and vice versa. Taking the time to check in with each other in this quick, nonverbal gesture is an easy way to help anticipate each other's thoughts and needs, and help keep an open dialogue about them.
Be In The Present Moment
Making your partner feel loved is all about being with them fully and completely — no words needed. "When you've been with someone for a while, it's easy to fall into a rut," says Bregman. But if you take the time to disconnect from your phone or any outside distractions, your partner will feel a greater connection knowing you're being completely present with them.
Do A Small Act Of Kindness
Little gestures that make your partner's life easier show how much you care. "Whether it's packing your [significant other] a lunch before they rush out to a hectic day of work, or stopping by the mall to pick up a ... phone case for your [partner] to save [them] a trip — these are the kinds of non-verbal actions which show you are deeply invested in this relationship, and seeking active ways to make your partner's life better," says Bregman. It really is the smaller gestures that count; even something like asking if you can pick up dinner for them on the way home, or making a quick call to help them schedule an appointment, is a nice reminder that there's someone in their corner.
Touch Them More
Even if physical touch isn't your love language, try an affectionate (consensual!) touch or caress to bring you closer to your partner. Or, if you're both game, maybe even try a massage. "Receiving a massage has been shown to increase levels of oxytocin, the brain chemical that bonds two people together," relationship counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "So, if you want your partner to fall more deeply in love, extended physical touch will do the trick."
Listen To Them
If you want to know how to make your boyfriend or girlfriend feel special, offer them your undivided attention. Being an excellent listener to your partner is a good way to make them feel appreciated. "You do not have to say a word or try to fix any problems, but lending a listening ear can go a long way to make your partner fall deeper in love with you because they feel heard," Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.
Recreate Your First Date At Home
Whipping out the nostalgia will remind you both of the feelings you had when you first fell for each other. “Try to incorporate any little details that will be a reminder the next day of your night,” Silva suggests. “Definitely dress up, have the same meal, add candlelight, be extra. It’s not just nostalgic of the beginning of your relationship; it also brings you back to that ‘this is why I fell in love with you’ [feeling].”
Take An Impromptu Road Trip
Not only is it spontaneous, which helps keep the tingly feeling alive, but it’s also a way to create a very intimate emotional atmosphere (car talks are always the deepest). “Hop in the car, turn off the GPS, and drive aimlessly,” Silva tells Bustle. “Most of the time we neglect our loved ones because we are so immersed in ourselves and our routines. Driving together with no destination in mind helps you want to lose yourselves in new experiences, to test your ability to handle the world, and the strength of your union in navigating through unknowns together.”
Make Them A Gratitude Card
Expressing gratitude in your relationship is crucial, and according to a 2015 study by the University of Georgia, it is a major player in determining marital quality. “Give your SO a physical card with a personalized message from you,” suggests Silva. “Buy one, make one, as long as you can surprise them with a unique reminder of what they mean to you. Once you’ve written your message, place it in their laptop, bag, notebook, or any item that they frequently use.”
If you're looking for ways to strengthen your bond with your partner, these are a few things that can help. Just remember, be authentic and kind, and you're already halfway there.
Khalid, S., Deska, J. C., & Hugenberg, K. (2016). The Eyes Are the Windows to the Mind: Direct Eye Gaze Triggers the Ascription of Others’ Minds. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(12), 1666–1677. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167216669124
BARTON, A.W., FUTRIS, T.G. and NIELSEN, R.B. (2015), Linking financial distress to marital quality: The intermediary roles of demand/withdraw and spousal gratitude expressions. Pers Relationship, 22: 536-549. https://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12094
Clarissa Silva, relationship coach, behavioral scientist
Stef Safran, relationship expert
Dana Lam and Martin Kupper, relationship coaches
Shlomo Zalman Bregman, matchmaker and rabbi
Jonathan Bennett, relationship counselor
Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, marriage and family therapist
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