Improving your relationship: 5 Things to say to your partner

Gary Chapman, Ph.D., well known for his book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate expresses the importance of words of affirmation. He states that “Many couples have never learned the tremendous power of verbally affirming each other. Verbal compliments are powerful communicators of love.”

You might assume your partner knows how you feel based on your actions, your physical touch, your surprise gift or your completion of everyday chores. Those are all incredible acts of kindness, but verbalizing how you feel adds a personalized component. So what do we say to our partners? How can we express appreciation, support, and love on a daily basis? Here are a few tips:

1. I want you to know that when you _____________ I am/was so impressed/proud.

Be specific. This can even be a small everyday action. The point is that you took notice. Our lives are busy and we spend so much time focusing on our own paths, goals and tasks. Showing that you took the time to pay attention and that you are impressed with his/her actions, demonstrates support and care for your partner. It’s a small sentiment that can go a long way.

2. I am thankful to be with you because _____________

Explaining why you feel the way you feel is more special and personal. It’s easier to say “I like you” or “I love you.” Voicing the reason behind the phrase shows that you’ve given it thought. You understand and appreciate the person who you are with. It’s no longer just words that slip off the tongue but a declaration of admiration.

3. You look beautiful/cute/handsome/sexy….you get the idea

Attraction is powerful. Confidence is powerful. Having the power to make your partner feel both attractive and confident is a blessing. Voice this to your partner. Let him/her know that regardless of years spent together you continue to feel that attraction.

4. Thank you for __________

Appreciation for your partner is encouraging. It shows that you don’t just assume tasks will get done or plans will be made. You know that your partner put in effort that day to make your life easier. Your partner literally handed you the gift of time by taking something off your plate. You are polite to strangers, saying please and thank you. You are polite to family and friends. Saying thanks to your partner should not fall at the wayside.

5. I thought about what you said and ___________

This phrase is not given much thought, although it can make the biggest difference. How many times do you feel you talk to your partner and you aren’t heard? You spend hours every day listening to your clients, your business partners, your bosses. Focusing on your partner becomes difficult when your mind is consumed. Although it might be hard and tiring, your partner notices when you listen and when you don’t. Acknowledging that you not only heard what they said but gave it thought is mind-blowing. You actually cared and it had meaning to them. It didn’t slip their mind the second the conversation changed.

These may seem obvious to you, easy in fact. However, the point is not that you know these phrases, it’s that you remember to say them. The more comfortable you get the more you assume your partner knows how you feel. Try assuming the opposite. Consciously work on using these phrases and notice the difference in how your partner responds.