Tell him that you think he looks hot, smells yummy, or whatever the case may be. And do so in the moment. Rave about his old T-shirt after he puts it on Saturday morning. As you hug, tell him that you think he smells sexy. Remark that his rear looks good in that pair of jeans he’s wearing around the house Sunday afternoon. “You serve as your beloved’s best mirror,” says Jim Walkup, Doctorate of Ministry, a licensed marriage counselor who practices in New York City and White Plains, New York. “Where else will he find a sense of someone appreciating his essence and lifting it up?” Plus, by verbalizing his best qualities, you recommit to what’s great about him and the relationship, says Walkup. “You’re reminding yourself why you married him in the first place.”
Put your phone down
An email, text, or phone call will always need a response. But do your best to give your partner your undivided attention when you’re together. Concentrate on him during dinner, when you’re in the car, on date night. “Nothing says ‘you’re important to me’ more than putting boundaries around all of the possible interruptions that impact sharing and being close,” says Walkup. Make eye contact and focus on him during conversations. “It will send the message that you’re fully engaged in what he is saying,” says Marni Feuerman, a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Boca Raton, Florida. “The message we send to our partners when they talk and we stare at our phones is that the person we’re emailing or texting with is more important than they are,” says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash and author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing).
Look good for him
Wear that dress he adores. Your hair in that high pony he likes. The red heels he raves about. This shows that you don’t take him for granted, even if you’ve been together for years. And you’ll feel more alive by taking such measures, says Walkup. Research on couples around the world found that the happiest couples prioritized staying attractive for each other (along with giving back rubs and having good communication).
Hug him (a lot)
Nothing makes you feel more attached than a hug, say Charles Schmitz and Elizabeth Schmitz (a.k.a. Doctors Schmitz), love and marriage experts and award-winning authors. Instead of giving each other a quick peck on the lips as you venture out for the day, embrace for a bit and let the touching linger. “Hugging releases oxytocin in your brain and will make you and your partner feel more connected and attached,” says Syrtash. And you’ll likely not want to let go either.
Cook his favorite meal
It's cliche but true: The way to a man’s heart (or to a woman's, for that matter) is through his stomach. Make his favorite meatballs for dinner, even if you aren’t a meat eater. On Sunday morning, surprise him with your homemade pancake recipe that he gushes about. “Just the fact that you know what he loves and have put forth extra effort will earn you mucho brownie points,” says Walkup. “Make sure you both have the time to savor it and take it in.”
Say thanks for the small stuff
Express your gratitude—even for something as small as taking out the trash or driving the kids to soccer practice. “We often begin to take things for granted or think, ‘He’s supposed to do that anyway, so why should I thank him?’” says Feuerman. But for the sake of your marriage, it’s important to say “thank you”—a direct and easy way to convey your appreciation. “Never saying thanks will erode at the relationship,” says Feuerman. “Small things lead to big changes in relationships,” says Syrtash. “You’ll likely be surprised at how effective doing something small is.” It will help improve his attitude and encourage him to continue doing those little acts.
Get him something when you get something for yourself
Ran to the local coffee shop for a bagel after the gym? Get one for him, too. Went downstairs for a bottle of water? Grab an extra. This only takes a second and shows that he’s on your mind.
Reach out and touch him
You’ve seen it in the commercials or the movies. Someone puts their hand on top of someone else’s. Their eyes meet and they just seem at peace. It’s the power of touch. “Touching each other multiple times per day is the norm in successful marriages,” says Doctors Schmitz. “Touching says, ‘I love you so much I simply must touch you.’”So reach out and touch his arm, shoulder, whatever it may be.
Tell him “I love you”
You can never express these three words enough and few people will tire of hearing them. Say these heartfelt words meaningfully and give him your full attention when doing so. Slip in an “I love you” as you wake up, go to sleep, and in other aspects of your daily life to help build a better relationship, says Dr. Walkup.
Buy him a small gift
What you get doesn’t have to be extravagant by any means. But the gift can be personal—rather than practical—to show your spouse how special he is to you. The little “nothings” will eventually add up to a big “something.” Plus, the gesture will let him know that you’re thinking of him.