Valentine’s Day is coming up, Y'all, and you know what that means--discounted candy and the sickeningly cute couples posting all about their significant others. This year, I’m happy to be a part of the latter group, but I’ve found myself focusing so much just on what to get my boyfriend as a present rather than the whole point of the holiday.
I think a lot of us lose ourselves in gift-giving, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it does help us forget why we’re celebrating--because of love. Valentine’s Day isn’t about fancy gifts or impressing your significant other. It’s about the love that you hold in your heart for them, and how much you care. “I love you” is a big phrase and a scary one at that; it's one that holds more meaning than just about any other phrase, but simply saying it isn’t the only way to express it. There are so many small ways that you can convey it that are even more impactful. Actions speak louder than words, and I can think of six ways right off the bat that say, “I love you” just as well as the phrase itself:
1. Sharing your favorite food.
This might just be me, but does anyone else get super protective of their favorite food? I won’t even share it with my sister half the time and I’ve known her my entire life. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: true love is sharing even the last bite of your favorite food. It doesn’t seem like a big gesture, but just sharing a little nibble with them can really show how much you love and care for them. You’re putting their happiness and want above your own in that instance. Besides, what else shows someone you love them than the last bite of a beautifully prepared cheesecake or a scrumptious pizza, am I right?
2. Helping to study for a big test.
I remember the first couple months of my boyfriend and I hanging out pre-relationship, one of the big things that made me really fall for him was the fact that he would help me study for my Linguistics class, which eternally stressed me out. He hardly did anything other than hold up the flashcards I made and keep me sane, but honestly, with how much I hated studying, it was the nicest thing he could have done for me, and it really made me feel so genuinely cared about. So take notes, friends! Studying together is the new sexy time.
3. Sending funny memes/pictures/etc to your partner.
Memes are the romance of the future! Okay, well not really, but still. Sending something cute or funny that you saw online that day, like a video, a picture, or a meme, is totally adorable and it’s a super simple way to show someone you’re thinking about them or that this reminded you of them. I know that my face still lights up whenever I get one of these sent to me (usually because it’s got a cute dog involved), even after almost a year.
4. Flirting, flirting, flirting.
One of the big things that I’ve noticed in relationships is that people love the feeling in the very beginning of seeing someone new, but that feeling usually tapers off after a few months. One of the big ways to keep the magic alive and show your partner that you still love them just as much (if not more) now is to keep flirting with them! Make it feel like the beginning again, even if you're years in. Make them feel wanted and loved and cherished, even if it’s just by sending a short, flirty text or by touching their butt. It’s the thought that counts, folks!
5. Paying attention to what they have to say.
I know we are all forgetful sometimes, myself especially included, but try to make it a priority to remember at least some of the things your partner says. Their favorite movie and color, the first vacation they ever went on, what they’re doing this weekend. You never know when something will come back in a later conversation, and when you’ll have the opportunity to show them that you care about them and actually were listening to what they have to say.
6. Opening up to them.
Relationships are all about communication and learning more about the other person. It’s honestly my favorite part about being in a relationship. Telling your partner things that you wouldn’t tell most others, including them into a private part of your life...it’s the most intimate thing that you can do with another person. And if you share your personal feelings, thoughts, and secrets with your partner, it truly shows trust--and, sometimes, that’s much more important than love.
It doesn't take big, grandiose gestures to impress your partner for Valentine's Day or any other day of the year--or, at least, it shouldn't. Love isn't about the big things, I've come to realize. It's about the little things. It's the small, seemingly insignificant and minute things that show your love for your partner. The little things that you probably don't even notice sometimes that you do.
If you did some or all of the items on this list already, then congratulations! You've mastered the art of saying "I love you" without actually saying it. If you don't do some of these, give 'em a try! These aren't make or break things that will definitely keep you with your significant other or tear you apart, but they are helpful and cute and, most of the time, your partner is going to be so appreciative of you even if it seems like you did absolutely nothing to earn that appreciation. Like I said, it's the little things.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone, and don't forget to spread the love!