By Melissa Lee-Tammeus, PhD, LMHC, CCTP
It is that time of year again. Everywhere you go, red hearts, pink bows, and flowery cards make an appearance to entice us to spend money and make a grand gesture to show our partners we love them. While magnificent acts on that one day can be wonderful, the care and love we share with and for our partners the other 364 days of the year just might be even more important. The small gestures done daily don’t take money or a holiday to accomplish, either. So, how can you show your love and affection to that special person that doesn’t involve driving to a store, ordering something online, or waiting for a calendar day?
Read on for five, easy tips to show that love year round:
1) Hug each other every day. Use your whole body. Hug hard and long. Hugs are healthy and they feel good. They help us breathe easier – all while releasing those special chemicals that make us feel fine. Breathe in those pheromones that your partner has – it will open up those long ago memories and make you nostalgic. You’ll remember not only why you fell in love in the beginning by why you love that person now.
2) Take a walk around your home turf together. Getting outside, walking side by side and holding hands – even for just a 15 minute walk around the block – can not only refresh the mind but can give you a chance to pay attention to the world around you and to the person beside you. Look at your neighborhood together. You will be reminded that this is the life you built together. This is your home.
3) Pick a series on your favorite media platform and watch it together. We have all heard the phrase Netflix and Chill. Well, sometimes, just Netflix and warm fuzzy slippers, sweats, and a shared bowl of popcorn with an oversized blanket you can both get under can work wonders all by itself. Take the time to find a series you both want to watch. Really take the time to learn what your partner likes and what you can share together. Make a day in which you can binge on five episodes in a row together or plan a weeknight you can both dedicate an hour to a week. Then stick to it. You will have something to look forward to together and something you can talk about. And do not watch without the other person present! This is a couple thing only – no cheating!
4) Cook together. This takes time and effort to get just right – it may not be a perfect symbiosis the first few times. Couples who cook together often have learned the way the other person moves and what is important to the other as far as habits in the kitchen. Cooking together helps you experience all the little quirks that can both drive you mad but also endear you to your partner. When you discover these things about each other, you can move like ninjas together in the kitchen. One may like to chop, the other to clean up the mess. One may be into the managing the stove, the other has a way with salads. Cooking together can be a way to discover new things about one another. If you want to take it a step further, do it in sexy outfits (or naked!), or with music playing, or with a nice glass of whatever makes you happy – or all three. The options are endless. Challenge each other to get creative with the food, with the preparation, and with each other.
5) Kiss each other goodbye and walk your partner to the door when they leave for the day. Greet him or her at the door when they come home. Yes, this can be annoying and sometimes simply can’t happen. But when it can, make the effort. Think about your day and how difficult it can be. How nice would it be to see your partner open the door, smile, and say hello to you? Maybe grab that bag from your hands to lighten your load? Doing this for one another can be just that – a lightening of the load of the day when you get home or a cheerleader cry of “You can do it!” when you leave.
February is a time for grand gestures. But don’t forget the little ones you can add to your everyday life together – those are the ones that last a lifetime, not just a day.