The words “I love you,” get thrown around these days, and sometimes those three little words don’t mean all that much—especially when your actions don’t meet them.
Everyone shows and wants to receive affection differently, and every relationship is unique. But if you’re stuck for ideas, here are 15 fun and creative ways to show affection to your partner.
1. Write your love story.
Include the day you first met, where you currently are in your relationship, and where you hope you end up together. And don’t worry if you’re not a writer—collect old emails, texts, and notes and put them into a book or box to give to your partner.
2. Drive somewhere.
Pack an overnight bag, get in the car, and start driving… somewhere, anywhere. Don’t plan where you’re going, and don’t look at the map. Instead, lose yourself in the adventure, and just enjoy each other’s company. Bring along your favorite snacks, make a playlist your partner will love, and see where the road takes you.
3. Help them.
You can do this in so many ways. Maybe you run some errands for them because you know they’re a little busy this week. Maybe you help them put that new desk together because… well, flat pack furniture is the DEVIL. Maybe you tidy up their office space because you know it’s been driving them crazy, but they were avoiding doing it. Or maybe you take their car to the car wash. Whatever it is, it’s about doing what you can to help the one you love.
4. Start from the beginning.
Plan a day when you revisit the place you first met, first said I love you, first had an official dater, or whatever memorable events have taken place in your relationship so far. Taking a trip down memory lane will bring back all those warm, fuzzy emotions you had at the beginning, and remind you of how far you’ve come together.
5. Make a video.
Set your camera up, and sit there and talk about what you love about your partner. What they’ve taught you, how you’ve grown, and what they mean to you. Tell them all the words you feel and want to say, but maybe never have. Don’t worry about being cheesy! If it comes from your heart, your partner will feel it.
6. Visit their world.
Whatever their biggest passion is, enjoy it with them for a day. They’ll appreciate you taking an interest in what lights them up, and taking time to do it with them. They might even return the favor after!
7. Remember the little things.
This might be the date of your first date ever, or the anniversary of when you guys became official, or even just the way they like their coffee in the morning. It might mean remembering to text them on the day of that important meeting, then asking them how it went after. Because the truth is, it’s the little things that always mean the most.
8. Create your relationship soundtrack.
Make a mix tape (or playlist), including the first song you listened to together, your favorite bands, the songs from a gig you went to, the songs you love to make-out too, and even your wedding song (if you have one!).
9. Pick them up their favorite candy bar from the store.
Not for any reason other than you saw it, you thought of them, and you wanted them to know you were thinking of them. They’ll love you for it.
10. Write them an ‘open when’ collection of letters.
Write a series of letters for your partner to open whenever they need them. This might include one’s like, “open when we have a fight,” or “open when you’re having a bad day,” or “open on the day we get married.” They can be filled with whatever words and gifts and memories you like.
11. Send a special delivery.
This might mean sending your girlfriend a beautiful bunch of flowers once every month (or deliver them yourself), or sending your man a handwritten love letter. Have fun with it, and do something you know they’ll appreciate.
12. Tuck an “I love you” note in their wallet, purse, or bag.
This one’s great for anyone who is a little more reserved with their words, and wants to still make sure their partner knows how much they are loved.
13. Do the dishes or tidy up.
Something as seemingly insignificant as tidying up or doing the dishes is a wonderful and inexpensive way to take care of your partner, and give them a little time to relax.
14. Give them a hug when they walk through the door.
Nothing says I love you like one of those warm, bear hugs, that last as long as you want. Make your partner feel appreciated, and let them know you missed them by making a fuss of them when you next see them after spending time apart.
15. Make their all-time favorite meal as a child.
If you don’t know what this is, call their parents for help! Then get to work and surprise your love with all their favorite dishes from when they were young.
There are endless ways to show your affection to the one you love. Use these ideas as inspiration, try them out, then think of your own.