You already know it's important for you and your guy to tell each other "I love you" — as often as possible. But you shouldn't depend on those three little words to let your one-and-only know what's in your heart. In fact, nonverbal displays of affection are often a better way to get through to the man in your life. Guys tend to be action-oriented, so they feel less comfortable using words to express emotions. They've know they're supposed to always say 'I love you,' but they're not sure that words alone convey how they feel.
Here is some sweet ideas and some expert tips on how to give your love a boost without uttering a word.
"Sometimes I 'write' a love message on my husband's breakfast toast. Using cookie cutters, especially my Valentine's Day set of hearts, I press one lightly into a slice of bread, just hard enough to imprint it, then I toast it. It never fails to bring a smile to his face."
"My wife sometimes has to travel for work, and when she gets home, I give her a small gift for every day she has been gone. I'll set them on the kitchen table and wait for her to notice them — things like her favorite perfume, fresh flowers, or a cool piece of handmade jewelry. I love to spoil her!"
"I place special little love notes, cartoons, jokes, or small articles — sometimes racy ones — in her underwear drawer. She never knows what to expect next. She gets a big kick out of them and knows it is my way of saying I love her."
"When I take a shower at night, I write messages on the fogged-up mirrors so they appear when he takes a shower in the morning before he goes to work."
"My husband puts toothpaste on my toothbrush and leaves it lying on the sink for me every night before bed. He is the sweetest husband ever!"
"I scour the TV listings for his favorite movies or a sporting event that I know he'd love to watch. I do it without telling him, then surprise him with it on Saturday morning. Bonus: While he's on the couch, I've just bought myself some me-time. Manicure, pedicure, here I come!"
"Before my husband leaves for work, he sets the table for my breakfast. He lays out a bowl for cereal, a cup for orange juice, strawberries, a napkin, and a spoon. For a big, manly union guy, this is a really major step!"
"I love that my husband gets up every morning when I do. His job doesn't start till 9, so he could easily sleep later than me, but he doesn't. While I get ready, he gets our three kids dressed and loads them into the van with their backpacks. To me, this is one of the best ways he can say he loves us all."
"Every morning before I get up, he leaves two folded towels in the bathroom for me for when I take a shower — one big towel for my body and a smaller towel for my head."
"In the wintertime I start my husband's car in the morning so it will be toasty warm for him on his way to work."
• EXPERT CHALLENGE: SHOW HIM YOUR GRATITUDE WITH A BEAR HUG
"The number one complaint I hear from guys is they feel like they don't get rewarded for the things they do, only told what they didn't do. Next time your man takes out the trash without being asked or starts the coffee pot for you in the morning, reward him with a 30-second full-body hug. Guys are so physical — it's easy and teasy."
HIGH-SPEED SIGNS OF DEVOTION
"I changed the banner on his cell phone to read 'I Love You' when he wasn't looking!"
"My husband and I send each other short e-mails to say what we are thinking about at that very moment. Once, he wrote me, 'The new Brad Paisley song makes me think of you.' Now every time I hear it on the radio, I'm reminded how much my husband loves me."
"My husband gets up at 5:30 a.m., but he pulls his dresser drawers open the night before so the noise of them opening and closing won't disturb me. Now, that's love!"
• EXPERT CHALLENGE: POINT THE WAY
"Here's a suggestive sign he can't miss: Leave a trail of Post-it notes in the hallway with arrows on them leading all the way to the bedroom." —Joyce Morley-Ball, Atlanta psychotherapist and author of Seeds for the Harvest of a Lifetime.
"Every time we kiss, we do it three times, which stands for 'I love you.' When my husband pulls out of the driveway in the morning, I stand at the door while he sets off the emergency light on his truck, also three times for 'I love you.'"
• EXPERT CHALLENGE: DRAW HIM A MAP