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When we think about showing love, for many of us, the first thing that comes to mind is saying the phrase ‘I love you.’ However, actions speak much louder than words, and while it’s lovely to say ‘I love you,’ there are many other ways to show love and affection.

The most effective way to show someone you love them isn’t in muttering three words, it lies in how you interact with that person and the kindness you show them. Anyone can say ‘I love you,’ but not all people are very good at actually showing their love and affection. Think about it: how many ways are there to show your love? Well, there’s a lot.

1. Actively listen to them.

When they are talking, don’t tune them out, or wait for your turn to talk. Instead, truly listen to them and respond to what they are saying. Show them they have your undivided attention. The Lost Art of Listening, Second Edition: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships” by Michael P. Nichols. This book can serve as a guide for those looking to improve their listening skills, showing their partner they truly care through improved communication.

2. Check on them.

Randomly send them a message to ask how they are doing, or make sure they got home safe after a night out. Show them you care by checking to see how they are and how they are feeling.

3. Write them a sweet love note.

Write a sweet love note and leave it somewhere they will find it. Don’t be vague or generic, truly make it personal. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” by Gary Chapman. This book helps readers understand and speak their partner’s love language, which might involve words of affirmation like checking in and showing concern.

4. Explain how important they are to you.

The next time you say “I love you,” tell them why. For example, you could say, “I love how strong you are, and how you are always there for me, and how kind and amazing you are to everyone you know.” It doesn’t have to be a TedTalk, but you get the idea.

5. Get them a thoughtful gift.

Pick out a gift that you know will mean something to them, and something you know they will love and cherish. If they collect something, get them something to add to their collection. If they love to cook, buy them a new cookbook. Whatever it is, make it personal.

6. Treat them to an experience date.

Take them out on a date to experience something new. This can be an art exhibit or a museum that has a collection of things that tie into something they have a major interest in. Or, you can just go ice skating. Make it unique and try to do something they haven’t done yet.

7. Put your phone away.

When you are with them, stow away the gadgets. As tempting as it may be to scroll through Instagram and Facebook, when we do so during our time with others it sends a bad message: you are not as important as the people I am looking at on social media. Not to mention, it’s rude.

8. Give them your time.

Go out of your way to make time for them, even if it’s ‘inconvenient’ to you. When you make sure to include them in your life, even when you feel like you don’t have much time, you are showing them they are a priority.

9. Spend time with their favorite people.

Make sure not to avoid their friends, or miss out on the invite when they ask you to go along to a family or friend event or night out. When someone includes you to spend time with their favorite people, it’s because they consider you one of them.

10. Be their loudest cheerleader.

Don’t ever miss an opportunity to support and encourage your partner. When someone talks bad about them, stand up for them. When they are doing something important to them, cheer them along. Why I Love You: A Journal of Us” (What I Love About You Journal). This fill-in-the-blank journal is a heartfelt way for one to document and share what they cherish most about their partner.

11. Send them a love song.

And to channel your 1980’s vibe (if you know you know), send them a song that makes you think of them. Add a note about why you sent it and how it makes you think of your love for them.

12. Give them soup when they are sick.

When someone you love is sick, and you bring some homemade soup, or their favorite takeout soup, it’s one of the kindest gestures you can do for someone. Soup is good for the soul, I don’t care who you are.

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