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21 Little Things You Can Do for Your Partner on Valentine’s Day

21 Little Things You Can Do for Your Partner on Valentine’s Day

copyright Freestocks

You don’t need fancy vacations or public declarations of adoration to make your relationship rock solid.

Successful relationships don’t depend on big gestures like surprise vacations or a new car.

“When we consider what maintains our love in the long term, little things are of greater significance,” writes Dr. Aaron Ben-Zeev, Ph.D., author of the book In The Name of Love: Romantic ideology and its victims (With R. Goussinsky, Oxford UP, 2008). “These little things, be they gestures, actions, or words, are the many small things that we do every day and that naturally express our heart. They are not the result of calculations or intentions, but are rather spontaneous expressions of what we feel moved to do.”

There are countless small ways to express your love for someone, not just this Valentine’s Day, but every day. For some inspiration in how to show your affection to your loved one, think about the following 21 examples:

YOU’VE GOT MAIL

copyright Freddy Castro

“Every few weeks I send my fiancé a handwritten love note to her office. Sometimes I send it with flowers.” —Danny

THE GOLDEN RULE

copyright How-Soon Ngu

“When my girlfriend gives me a back rub or a foot massage, I make sure to give her one back soon after. As they say, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” —Aaron

PARTNERS IN PAIN

copyright Scott AF Base

“When I started having chronic pain after a car accident, I had to go to the acupuncturist or the physical therapist almost every day. My husband really showed me that he was there for me by attending all the appointments he could with me.” —Jen

ONE TO GO

copyright Raw Pixel

“My husband is an avid gardener and a botanist. When I travel, he always leaves a pressed flower in my suitcase for me to remember him by, and a short note with it. It makes me feel so lucky.” —Catie

TWO SIDES

copyright Lotte Meijer

“I have always believed the saying: Men have sight, but women have insight. When I keep that in mind I can listen better to what my wife is telling me, and we argue less.” —Gerard

LIGHTEN THE LOAD

copyright Chrissie Kremer

“It’s already a great thing that my husband and I actually split up household chores, as I know a lot of couples don’t. But what makes me really feel taken care of, is when I’m stressed or tired from work and he pitches in for my half of the cleaning.” —Anastasia

HONEY, YOU’RE HOME

copyright Marco Bianchetti

“There’s nothing like coming home at the end of a long day at work and watching my wife drop whatever she’s doing and come say hello to me. I try to do the same for her, and it makes a big difference in both of our moods.” —Robert

BREAKFAST IN BED

copyright Ben Neale

“When I know my husband has to go to work in the morning— which is earlier than I have to get out of bed, I set out the tableware and some of the ingredients for his breakfast the night before.” —Janice

A LITTLE HELP

copyright Velizar Ivanov

“I hang her coat and hat right by the door so she doesn’t have to look around for them in the morning.” —Glen

JUST RIGHT

copyright Samuel Zeller

“We share one car, so when I park it in the driveway and I know she’ll be the next to use it, I set the seat and mirrors back to her position, so she doesn’t have to. When I did this the first time, she called me from the road to tell me how good it made her feel.” —Jamal

PLAN AHEAD

copyright Matheus Kohler

“I must admit, I’m no good at planning, so when a big trip comes around my husband is always happy to plan it out. On the other hand, I’m more spontaneous, so I try to surprise him with a spur-of-the-moment date night.”— Alice

ALL THE RIGHT NOTES

copyright Louis Smith

“My girlfriend is a really good pianist—she won competitions when she was a kid. When I’m sick or not feeling my best she plays my favorite pop songs on the piano for me, and it cheers me right up.”—Miguel

GOOD, AND GOOD FOR YOU

copyright Rachael Gorjestani

“When I can, I pack my husband’s lunch for him. When he does it himself it’s just a sandwich and a soda, so I try to load his lunch bag with the sandwich as well as fruit, energy bars, and other healthy snacks that he’ll enjoy.” —Dana

BABY COME BACK

copyright Matthew Kane

“When my wife’s on a business trip, I make a point to call her every day to chat. I always tell her that I miss her, and ask when she’s coming back, even if I know already. It makes her feel important.” —Samuel

ANGEL INVESTOR

copyright Raw Pixel

“Years ago, when I was starting my business, I had a plan but was always scraping by. Things were tough. But my wife never wavered in her support of my dreams, and it made all the difference.” —Ken

HERE’S TO YOU

copyright Photo-Nic.co.uk

“At the end of a long day of work, or even a lazy Sunday, my wife and I always look forward to a glass of wine on the patio. She picks the bottle, I light a candle, and we watch the sun set.” —Seamus

SURPRISE PACKAGE

copyright Bench Accounting

“My husband always shops online at REI— it’s a guilty pleasure of his, and every time a box comes in the mail he’s high-spirited. So years ago I took an old REI box from the basement and put two tickets to Costa Rica in it, under an old t-shirt. At first he was confused, then elated. We still talk about it to this day.” —Keira

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

copyright Ezra Jeffrey

“When we’re on a road trip, I can drive much longer hours than him. So in return, he keeps me awake and happy with a gentle shoulder massage. It shows me he’s in it with me.” —Blair

FRESHEN IT UP

copyright Sarah Dorweiler

“I do most of the house work, because my husband is in the office more than me. But laundry is not my strong suit, while for him it’s a cinch. When he has time he does it for us, and I get flutters every time from how well it’s done— perfect folds, that fresh laundry smell— it makes my day.” —Roberta

AN INSIDE JOKE

copyright Ariel Domenden

“On a trip to Peru we took, it became a joke to give one another endless bottles of the local soda there, which you can’t find back in the States. One day, years after the trip, he burst into my bedroom with a case of the stuff, and we laughed our butts off.” —Alexandra

JUST THE THING

copyright Celia Michon

“My wife had been complaining for weeks about how hard it was to find time to get her work clothes dry-cleaned. Then I got an unexpected day off, so while she was at the office I gathered all her clothes and had the cleaners do a rush job on it. When she opened up her closet that night, she was bewildered.” —Jared