A little bit of effort can make a big difference in a relationship. Even if you feel like you already love your partner well, you can always go the extra mile and love them even better.
Be the best partner you can be and make your loved one a priority with these six thoughtful ideas. Better yet, work them into your daily or weekly routine to consistently show up for them — in both big and small ways.
1. Schedule Time to Connect
Most couples have just a few hours to spend together each day. Others spend mere minutes chatting at breakfast or before they go to bed. Eventually, the time apart can strain your relationship and make you both feel like poor partners.
So how much time should you spend with your significant other? Experts recommend splitting the hours spent with friends and your partner by 70% and 30%, respectively. This 70/30 rule can help you reprioritize your relationship and consistently schedule a time to connect.
2. Watch Their Favorite Show
Is your significant other obsessed with Outlander? Perhaps Grey’s Anatomy is more their thing. Whatever their favorite show is, sit down and watch an episode together. Sure, you might jump in halfway through season five, but it’s the thought that counts. The fact that you took time to watch something that interests your partner is thoughtful and endearing, so don’t be surprised if they reward you with cuddles.
If TV shows aren’t your thing, try listening to a podcast together instead. Make a weekly ritual out of it, enjoying the show while you eat dinner, make cocktails, or chat about your day.
3. Send Thoughtful Texts
Sending your partner a text during the day is a simple yet meaningful way to remind your better half you love them. Whether you’re at work or they’re out buying groceries, a simple “thank you” or “miss you” will totally make their day.
This idea is great for partners whose main love language is words of affirmation. Keep the sentiment short and sweet to either express sincerity or entice them to come home early. Just don’t let your coworkers catch you sending or receiving anything too naughty!
4. Be a Good Listener
Most people learn how to lead a presentation in school, but very few have the skill it takes to really listen to one. Do you have trouble remembering what your spouse told you right after they said it? Maybe you interject or talk over them when they bring up a certain topic. Oftentimes, these responses are subconscious, but that doesn’t make them any less hurtful.
Be the best partner you can by being a better listener. Instead of putting things in your own words, repeat your SO’s last few words back to them to keep the conversation on track. Offer nonverbal cues like eye contact and nodding your head to let them know you’re listening. More importantly, pay attention to their nonverbal cues so you can read between the lines and better understand their emotions.
5. Pick Up the Slack at Home
Sometimes, being a great partner is as simple as taking out the trash or doing the laundry. Completing these tasks independently without being asked is even better, especially if your loved one has had a long day at work.
If you notice your partner sacrificing self-care or their professional life to keep the house clean, it’s time to step in and assume more responsibility. Sure, they should still be willing to lend a hand, but you shouldn’t make them feel bad if they’re unable to, either.
6. Focus on Hellos
How you greet your partner is crucial and can set the tone for your entire day. Do you roll out of bed without even glancing at the person beside you? Perhaps you come home from work with a sour attitude and short fuse. If you choose to ignore or retreat from your partner in these moments, you miss prime opportunities for connection.
Make your loved one feel welcome, safe, and acknowledged by infusing hellos with excitement and engagement. Give them a hug or kiss and your full attention to show them that they’re a priority. Bonus tip: do the same thing whenever one of you leaves to go to work or run errands.
What’s Your Motivation?
If you love your partner with the sole intention of getting something in return, you’ll likely end up disappointed. No matter how much you do or how well you treat them, they probably won’t have the time or energy to return the favor, at least not immediately. Their response — or lack thereof — can create a rift in your relationship if you let it.
That’s why it’s important to maintain pure motivation and a grateful heart. Consider how grateful you are for your partner as you learn to love and serve them better. If you’re sincere in your efforts, odds are they’ll respond in kind, perhaps when you least expect it.