“When you are older you will understand how precious little things, seemingly of no value in themselves, can be loved and prized about all price when they [show] the love and thoughtfulness of a good heart.” – Edwin Booth
Thanks, Mr. Booth.
Indeed, the “little things” are often large gestures of love.
For many of us who’ve been in a long-term relationship, it’s funny to think about what we “valued” – and how we presented ourselves – during those “early days.”
Men, in particular, have a way of bringing out the “big guns”: their most expensive clothes, the pricey restaurant (even if they can’t afford it), a newly-polished ride, etcetera. (Well, unless you’re one of those dudes who just doesn’t give a rat’s behind, which may work for some.)
Then time passes. Two souls get to know each other; they fall “head over heels,” make plans…you know the whole intimacy thing. That’s when things get really interesting; that’s when some of life’s best moments happen (or the other way around, unfortunately.)
Ultimately, a relationship’s longevity and happiness depend at least as much on the “little things” as anything else.
Here are 10 subtle (yet powerful) ways of displaying love to a special someone:
Let’s get going!
1. Caressing of the face or hair
There is no small gesture more loving and thoughtful than a sweet touch or stroke of your special one’s hair or face (ask any woman). Not only is this gesture straightforward and powerful, but it is also versatile.
A gentle caress and sweet smile can relay your love and devotion, heal an emotional wound, or even stoke the flames of intimacy. Guys (men), if you’re not doing this, you’re doing something wrong.
2. Leave a love note somewhere unexpected
If you’ve ever done this, please comment on your partner’s reaction.
Truly, leaving a “surprise note” is a sweet and considerate gesture. The combination of an initial “OMG” feeling, followed by an influx of love hormones is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Some ideas: use a sticky note and put it on the mirror, the inside of their car (steering wheel!), or – if you’re pressed for time – just leave a quick note heading out the door.
3. Involve the kid(s)
Involving the kids is a very sweet way of demonstrating love and appreciation for their mom or dad. Of course, this is a sly way of showing your love as well.
There are plenty of creative ways to do this. Have them draw a picture, wait at the door for a surprise kiss and hug, or encourage them to think of something kind at the end of the day.
4. Put the toilet seat up/down
(On a personal note, this writer makes a conscious effort to this every time – and it is appreciated.)
Admittedly, this habit doesn’t require too much effort. But something as simple as leaving the toilet seat up or down sends your partner a subtle message of kindness and conscientiousness.
5. Make food with love
First thing: it’s okay if you’re not a Gordon Ramsey or Rachael Ray. Give this one your best shot anyways. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Plus, there are a ton of simple recipes on the interwebs.
Chances are you’re attuned to the other half’s culinary preferences. Why not roll up your sleeves and make a meal with love? Research a recipe, pick up some fresh ingredients, and cater to your partner’s palette.
If all else fails, there’s always Chinese takeout.
6. Pick up a small gift
While most astute love gestures are immaterial, there is still something about picking up a small present that evokes excitement.
Brainstorm your partner’s hobbies and passions. (Personal anecdote: for this writer, it’s anything Batman-related. My love bought a keychain with a miniature-sized Caped Crusader – it stays front and center on my desk.)
Given enough thought, odds are you’ll come up with a great, inexpensive gift idea. Trust me; they’ll love it.
7. Be lazy together
Seriously, if at all possible, stay in and have a lazy day. Think Peter from Office Space but with a woman.
Pajamas? Leave ‘em on. Dirty dishes? Forget about them. Head to the couch, blanket in tow, and binge on some episode of something. Cuddle up and take a nap or three. This is what real love is.
8. A quick and surprising kiss
Is your loved one focused in on something? Good. Sneak up behind them (if they won’t freak out) and give them a quick (or not so quick) kiss. Put some passion behind that peck if you’re so inclined.
9. Pay attention
Okay, so we can’t always orchestrate a creative, subtle way of demonstrating our love.
Paying attention is a worthy addition to this list for a couple of reasons. First, the art of active listening is exceedingly rare, even for people in long-term relationships. Second, paying attention is a beautiful and subtle way of showing your love and respect.
Let’s switch gears…
10. Touch the “right spot.”
Now we’re talking. (Don’t worry, we’re not going to go all Kama Sutra).
Most people have areas of their body that, when touched by their loved one, stimulates the senses. As mentioned, many women love the face caress or brushing of the hair. For a man, this area may be his shoulders or chest.
Affectionate touching or rubbing of the “right spot” is a subtle (or not so subtle) act of love.