Everyone has their own unique way of expressing their love for their partner. Intercourse seems like the most obvious way to show love, but a healthy relationship needs more than that to thrive. Here are some ways to love your partner that don’t include intercourse.
Practice active listening
Active listening is an essential part of expressing love for your partner. According to clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone, it’s easy to fall into a comfortable routine with a partner that doesn’t include active listening. Paying attention to what your loved one says and making mental notes of things they mention goes a long way. Bringing up things they like that they’ve talked about in the past and encouraging them to talk about themselves shows that you care about them.
Communication with your partner happens every day. However, the quality of the communication is what matters. Couples therapists Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt say that positive communication creates “safe conversations.” This means that your conversations are full of empathy and validation rather than negativity and defensiveness. Taking the time to understand how your partner feels, shows how much you love them.
Turn your phone off
It’s easy to become distracted by social media and your phone. However, it’s important to put your phone away when spending alone time with your partner. Clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly says that eye contact and thoughtful responses show you are engaged in the conversation with your partner. This makes them feel seen and loved.
Feeling underappreciated can be detrimental to a relationship. Dr. Carla Marie Manly suggests that expressing gratitude can signify respect and love for your partner. Noticing thoughtful things your partner does and commenting on them, is a way to show appreciation. For example, if your partner makes you dinner or cleans the bathroom, you should say thank you and tell them you appreciate it.
Check-in on their emotions
It may be difficult to read your partner’s emotional state and it shouldn’t be expected for you to know what they are thinking all the time. It’s important to ask them how they are feeling and encourage them to express themselves. This creates a safe space and makes them feel secure and loved.
Accept your partners’ differences
Accepting your partner for who they are and embracing your differences is the hallmark of a healthy relationship. Hendrix and Hunt say that it’s essential to realize your partner has a unique set of feelings, perceptions, interests, and opinions. Allowing your partner to be themselves fosters a healthy, loving relationship.
Use “I” language
Hendrix and Hunt say swapping “you” statements for “I” statements can make a positive impact on relationships. Saying something like, “You made me feel…” can sound like you are attacking or blaming your partner. Instead, you should say something like “I feel this way when you…” Using “I” statements promotes healthy and effective communication, which shows your partner you love them and want to work out any issues.
Pay attention to how they express love
According to Lisa Firestone, the way your partner treats you may be the way they want to be treated. For example, if they enjoy gift giving, they may want you to gift them something once in a while. Being attuned to your partners’ love language is a great way to show them you love them.