Before you had children, you probably looked forward to spring as a blossoming time for fun and frolic. You enjoyed a rebirth of dating, dinners, happy hours, and plenty of outdoor activities to put you under the sun every weekend. Now, with children, warm May weather means one thing: finally, the kids can go outside to play.
This year, I’d like spring to mean two things (yes, the kids are out of the house more often), but also, it can and should mean that it’s the season to put a little zest into your love life. The difference between same-old evenings and ones that spark a smile is the difference between saying this, and saying that. Could it be any easier?
5 new ways to say ‘I Love You’
1. Use “follow-up” bonds
When your mate tells you about something that’s going to happen that day, whether it’s a meeting, a doctor’s appointment, or taking your son or daughter to a soccer game, always make it a top priority to call, text, or email to ask, “How did it go?” By following up you are saying: you matter to me and I love you.
2. Bestow “focused” talk
If you and your mate are away from each other during the day, and you are busy but have access to e-mail or text messaging, take 30 seconds to send a romantic note saying, “Just thinking about you,” or “How’s your day going?” or “Looking forward to seeing you tonight.”
3. Offer “pitch-in” connectors
Volunteering to help your mate with tasks (like those in the kitchen or caring for the kids) even when you are busy, tired, or overwhelmed yourself is another powerful way to say, “I love you. You are special to me and I care about you.”
4. Display “face-to-face” expressions
As love becomes a permanent fixture in our life, we often take it for granted. Don’t ignore your mate. Routinely say hello and goodbye to each other and engage in one-sentence, face-to-face expressions of love such as “I love our life together,” “You’re a great mother/father,” or “Your were so kind to do that for me.”
5. Exhibit “touch and go” contact
When you and your mate arrive home, how much time passes before you touch each other or offer a quick hug or kiss? When you and your mate are together, whether you are watching TV, emptying the dishwasher, or reading, take 30 seconds to reach out to each other. If your kids see you doing this, even better. A quick touch says, “I see you. I hear you. I love you.”
Spring is the time for new beginnings. Whatever you did yesterday, you can make today a little sweeter, a little kinder, and a little more loving with the right words at the right time.
Laurie Puhn is a Harvard-educated lawyer, couples mediator, and bestselling author of Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship Without Blowing Upor Giving In, who frequently appears on CNN, Good Morning America, and The Early Show to offer relationship advice. Visit her website.
In what different ways do you let your spouse and children know you love them?