On Saturday I played board games with my partner. He loves games, and well, I’m a little less game-y. Truthfully I’ve been feeling a little stuck lately. With covid restrictions & working from home things have felt monotonous & a bit heavy. This ‘grey’ outlook makes it easy to disengage & not be ‘in the mood’ to do much of anything. However, on Saturday when he asked to play a game, even as that dramatic little voice in my head sighed, “I don’t feel like it”, I said yes. We played for a coupe hours & it was a blast. I had fun, I could tell he appreciated it, & seeing him doing something he loves is something I love.
In the early days of relationships everything is magnified. Our hearts flutter when our partner comes close, we are excited by each new insight & we ‘get ready’ for every encounter. Usually, in these time we want to present our best self, & in the newness everything feels alive. As time wears on, the butterflies dissipate & our relationship shifts from excitement & intrigue to comfort & reality. We become embedded in each others lives, not only as lovers & friends but as co-managers of our family & household. The logistical demands of family & work can begin to take over our day to day. By the end of the day or week we may find that there isn’t much energy left for romance or affection.
At the same time, this is the person you love. The one you choose to be with every single day. It’s quite conceivable that you want to feel warmth & connection, even as the daily tasks are attended to. This isn’t about returning to how it was, but about taking who we are today both individually & as a couple & engaging in small actions to nourish warmth, intimacy, & joy in each other.
Below are 10 easy actions we can take that communicate love to our partner, not just in words but in presence & approach. These are meant to be simple & tangible. You might pick just one or try them all & see what happens.
1. Enthusiastic Welcomes
Have you ever come home to someone who is genuinely stoked to see you. It’s the best. Admittedly, for years it was my dog Molly who greeted me, but now it’s something I value from my partner (& our dogs). To come home & be met with a kiss & a kindness melts away any edge that the day contained.
Greet your partner with enthusiasm ~ a smile, a kiss, a hug, anything that shows them you are present & genuinely happy to see them. This greeting can happen anytime in the day ~ when you get up, when someone comes home, even as a re-set once the kids are in bed & it’s just the two of you.
2. Show & Feel Appreciation
Gratitude & appreciation go a long way in building both the desire to engage with our partner & contribute to the relationship. When we appreciate something our partner does it positively reinforces that behaviour & helps us recognize their contribution instead of focusing on what’s ‘not’ happening. It’s easy for resentment to build in relationships ~ when one person nags & other begrudgingly does a requested action not one really wins. By intentionally noticing the actions you do appreciate & saying thank you when they happen, both people are likely to feel more seen & connected.
Appreciation is also about enjoying & celebrating your partner for who they are. We might appreciate the passion they have for their work, or the how excited they get about their favourite show. Acknowledging these things allows love to touch our hearts, shift how we see our partner, & helps them to see their inherent value through our eyes.
3. Receive Appreciation.
Appreciation is a give & take. So many of us (myself included) can feel unacknowledged yet when someone gives us recognition we don’t receive it. When your partner tells you you look great, or that they loved your meal, notice how you respond. Can you say thank you?
Even though we desperately want it, being seen & appreciated can be uncomfortable. That’s okay. It’s a practice. If you feel discomfort simply notice what happens in your body, breath, & say “thank you.” In time receiving will get easier & you might just begin to see all the great things others see in you.
4. Slow down.
When we slow down we create space to be present & experience the nuances of the moment. This can be done in a number of situations ~ from slowing down a kiss, to creating more space in a conversation, to lying in bed & just listening to each other breath. When we slow down we get to experience the journey together.
5. Get in Touch with Your Passion (for You)
Who are you outside of your relationship? Depending on your attachment style you might find that everything you do is based on the other person ~ working with their schedule, to do what they want to do on their timeline. Or it might be everything you do is with your partner. Either way, there is something pretty important being missed. Doing you for you.
Exploring your passion for yourself is revitalizing. When you do what you love because you love it it ignites new energy in yourself & your relationship. This passion is attractive, builds self esteem, & places you firmly in yourself. If you’re not sure what you love or are passionate about ~ think about the things you loved to do when you were younger, or imagine yourself in a different magical life. What would you do there?
You might invite your partner into these passions on occasion ~ allowing them to see you in your element.
6. Engage in Their Passions
When your partner invites you to join them in something they love do it! This doesn’t meant you have to do everything they do, but to take part in something they love is good for both of you. They will likely appreciate that you are engaging in something you might not normally do & you get to enjoy seeing them in their element.
7. Share Intimate Secrets.
After years of marriage or cohabiting it may feel like there is nothing mysterious left to say. That’s why this can be such a sweet practice. Intimacy is built over time as we share those parts of ourself that others haven’t earned the privilege to know. Intimacy is built on every level. We might share thoughts, opinions, or a vulnerable feeling. We can ignite romantic intimacy & enticement by sharing our fantasies or desires. Keep it simple, share from your personal edge & know that you don’t need to share everything at once.
8. Keep Dating.
When life gets busy, the romance can definitely get lost in the logistics. We all make time for those things that matter ~ like work or that important networking event. Make that same commitment to your partner ~ a time that is about connecting & enjoying each other. By making your connection a priority, whether it's a date once a week or a regular evening walk ~ you will likely find that the transactional parts of day feel better ~ because you feel like you are in it together.
9. Ask How.
We all need different things at different times. Some days we might need a big hug & just to be heard, another we may seek advice or help with the laundry. Asking your partner “What is one thing I could do (or not do) today that would help you?” is a really sweet way of showing your support & of being willing to learn & grow.
This question can be used from helping with chores around the house to the enticing more play in the bedroom. At first it may feel strange to ask & answer but with time & practice it continues to open new possibilities in self & other understanding.
10. Keep it Fresh
What does your partner love or enjoy? Surprise them with a getaway, a little gift, even a little card just because you love them. Thoughtful surprises speak volumes. They allow your partner to feel cared for & seen especially when they consider that which would genuinely bring your partner joy.
You can also revitalize the energy in your relationship by trying something new. It might be as simple as going for a walk through a different neighbourhood or as extravagant as hang gliding in the mountains. These new experiences allow you break out of the routine & see each other in a fresh light.
About the Author
Amy Thiessen is a coach, writer, & musician who focuses on helping women connect to their confidence, purpose, & self esteem through voice & communication. Offering a holistic approach Amy helps individuals uncover & overcome their unique blocks around voice & communication, connect to their self esteem & purpose, & ultimately express themselves in a way that is empowered & impactful.
Communication is essential to any healthy relationship. However, the skills of effective communication aren't always obvious. To communicate clearly we need to understand how we feel, what we need, how to listen, & how to express ourself in a way that is more likely to be heard. If you would like to build your capacity to communicate more effectively, whether in your relationship or in other areas of your life, I invite you to book a free 20 minute consult & see if In Resonance Coaching is right for you!