These 7 Ways to Love Your Sweetheart will show you how to love them in ways so they feel loved—on Valentine’s Day and beyond.
Do you know what makes your sweetheart tick? What fills their love cup to overflowing? There are clues I tell ya!
Valentine’s Day is simply a reminder to celebrate LOVE
Valentine’s Day was the first holiday to roll around when my husband and I started dating—now we’ve celebrated more than 30. He made quite an impression with gifts, perfume, flowers, dinner … our relationship was new and he was in wooing-mode.
We were married later that year and enthusiasm for Valentine’s Day diminished in the years following. For us, it became less about individual gifts and more about celebrating the relationship, but that evolved from hard lessons learned.
We haven’t made a big deal about Valentine’s Day, but we haven’t ignored it either. We see it as a reminder to celebrate love or press in if we’ve been distracted.
Ultimately, to love is to value and esteem someone.
As a young couple, we had some misconceptions about love like so many do. We would have told you we were “in love” and all that, but there was still insecurity.
It was a performance-based tally sheet with “what have you done for me lately” kind of expectations. Self-focused, which isn’t love at all.
This meant we were primed for the ugly Valentine’s Day (or anniversary) arguments over the pressure he felt (feeling obligated to make me feel special) and the emotional needs I sought to have met (prove you love me). Been there? It’s awful.
It took some time, but we realized to “love and cherish” we had to let go of the scorecard and love each other selflessly and consistently, beyond any holiday or anniversary hoopla.
As believers, we embrace the example of God’s love for us—sacrificial, enduring, serving-oriented, unconditional—a tall order for us self-centered human types. Our bent is to satisfy ourselves, so the journey must be paved with grace.
Ultimately, love is to value and esteem someone.
Isn’t that what we long for on Valentine’s Day and every other day?
7 Ways to Love Your Sweetheart so They Feel Loved
1. Explore the 5 Love Languages and discover what fills their love cup.
Insight into how to best love someone enables us to be purposeful in showing love in a way they most receive it.
I can’t be sure at what point in our married life we stumbled across the idea of loving each other so we feel loved, but it was incredibly helpful.
Understanding the 5 Love Languages helped me realize receiving gifts was one of my husband’s primary love languages. I also recognized I struggled with how to do that well.
I was perfectly happy to buy something for the house and call it a gift, he was not. For him, if it wasn’t personal, it wasn’t a gift.
From my point of view, gifts were nice but didn’t necessarily communicate love, so it was hard for me to connect the significance for others. (I have since identified the friends in my life this matters to as well.)
This insight has helped me love others in ways they were apt to receive it, even though it didn’t come naturally to me.
TIP: We tend to love the way we want to be loved, which helps identify our own love language.
2. Make a list of all the things you love about them or what you admire in them.
Words of affirmation is a primary love language for one of our daughters. One day during her mid-teens, distraught and crying, she concluded “they hate me” as she described a conflict with friends.
The deeper story revealed they had criticized her ideas for a project; someone may have even called her stupid or something else that made it personal (I can’t remember the finer details).
While it appeared as though she was overreacting, these were real tears and sobs. It was then I remembered this teaching on love languages. One of her primary love languages is words of affirmation. For her, affirming words communicate love.
Conversely, harsh and hurtful words communicated hate. This was a biggie for her and for me as a parent. Understanding why the situation affected her so deeply helped her navigate the criticism (and mean people) more effectively.
As a parent, it enabled me to coach and encourage more effectively as well. Does your spouse tend to hang on to something negative you’ve said? Do they need to hear “I love you” more than you do? These are clues.
3. Choose an activity they enjoy and offer to join them (even if you think it’s stupid).
Quality time is my primary love language. Going for a walk, working in the yard, having coffee, attentive conversation, gathering friends for dinner, road trips, cooking together … the key here is—together.
Fortunately, it is one my husband can relate to although it isn’t necessarily primary to him.
Of course, it’s ideal when you can find something you both enjoy, but joining into a favorite activity they love makes it that much sweeter for them.
4. Do something to serve them that makes their life easier.
Acts of service is the other primary love language for my sweetheart. I figured this out by noticing how he most often expressed his love for me, though it took some conflict for it to dawn on me.
We needed a new dog door installed. He and I have always done D.I.Y. remodel projects in our home, so installing a dog door was not a big deal, right?
Unless, of course, it is done as an act of service for someone (me) who wanted it done. The conflict came when he finished the job, and my response was something like, “great, thanks.” (In my mind the box was checked and we could move on).
Love language or not, it’s never good to take things people do for granted, which, in this case, I did.
It took him asking me two or three times to come out to look at it, and subsequent references to it, for me to catch on that this was an act of service (or love). I got it.
This is only one example, but as I paid attention it became clear how simple acts of service for him communicated love in return.
Laundry, dishes, cooking dinner, clearing counters, washing their car, mowing the lawn, and numerous other tasks can lighten the load of everyday life. Ask, they’ll tell you what they need.
5. Hold their hand, rub their feet while they tell you about their day, or offer hugs often.
For couples, non-sexual touching is incredibly important for those who feel connection and love through physical closeness. Hugs, hand-holding, sitting close, stroking their hair, or leaning into a snuggle is like air to their lungs.
Physical touch is a primary love language for our youngest daughter, and even though I hug all my children, she can linger in a hug unlike anyone else I know.
From the time she was itty bitty, she was always asking for hugs, head rubs, or a foot massage. Even now as an adult, she is quick to hold my hand when we walk together.
To touch her is to love her.
6. Give them something, especially something meaningful.
We call them “presents people” and they can spot each other a mile away. Those I know who receive love when receiving gifts also love giving them, and they are great gift-givers.
The gift doesn’t have to be big or expensive, it can be anything that is personal to them—something in their favorite color or a small thing they mentioned once—just to know you thought of something special to them.
TIP: The wrapping can be important as the gift, so take the time for thoughtful presentation too.
As I mentioned before, this was an area I had to be purposeful about with my husband. It was hard for me to overcome my thinking that fulfilling practical needs were an appropriate gift.
I was fine with garage doors for our anniversary; he would have no part of that. Then there was the Christmas I suggested we use the money for our gifts and give it to a local charity. He is a generous man, but that was not happening either.
Or the birthday I wanted to plan a trip to see family as our gifts (our birthdays are the same month) … nope.
It isn’t that gifts are all that’s important, but as a love language, it hits a sweet spot like nothing else.
7. Practice loving often, beyond special occasions.
Discovering your sweetheart’s love language will help you practice weaving love into your relationship in ways they will feel and receive your efforts.
I say practice loving because our efforts don’t always hit the mark. Sometimes the timing is off or the response we’re looking for is delayed so don’t give up—they’re worth it.
When our loved ones feel cared for and loved on a regular basis it relieves the pressure of having to make up for it on holidays and anniversaries.
Very nice post Judy and certainly from the heart! Most of these are why my hubby and me have been together for over 40 years now. Once you find out how to live it, it’s a fabulous life, isn’t it? 🙂
Nice post, very good read. Belated Happy V day to you
Bam's Kitchen says
Great post and very sweet! Wishing you a very happy belated Valentines Day! I think the real small things you do always mean the most. I could not agree more..
Judy Purcell says
Thanks Bam, hope your day was fabulous!
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says
This is beautiful.
Judy Purcell says
Thanks, Maureen. XO
John@Kitchen Riffs says
Really good post. Takes a while to love someone more than yourself, doesn’t it? But it’s a trip so worth taking. Thanks for this.
Judy Purcell says
Right on both counts, John, it can take a while and it definitely worth it! Hope you and yours had a fabulous Valentine’s Day. 🙂