The Little Things in Relationships That Matter the Most

How to Show Your Partner That You Care

Happy senior woman getting bouquet from her husband outdoors in garden

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When we think of love and happy relationships, it’s often the big occasions and grand gestures that come to mind. Celebrating occasions like birthdays and anniversaries with one’s partner can be fun and exciting. Performing grand romantic gestures like gifting them something expensive, whisking them off on holiday, or treating them to a fancy meal can surprise and delight them.

However, in long-term relationships, it’s often the little things that matter most. The small, everyday acts of caring and the simple but sincere words of love and support can play a big part in ensuring happiness and well-being.

This article discusses why the little things in relationships matter the most and suggests some simple gestures that can help you show your partner that you care.

Why the Little Things Mean a Lot

Small, thoughtful gestures can show your partner that you love them, care about them, and appreciate them.

They help promote stability in relationships because they show your partner that they’re important to you and that you think about them. This can help reduce uncertainty in the relationship and instill a sense of security, strengthening your bond and bringing you closer together.

A 2013 survey that included over 5,000 participants found that small acts of kindness, as simple as making a cup of tea for one’s partner, were highly valued. In fact, the results of the survey showed that gifts like flowers and chocolates were considered less important than the thoughtfulness behind the gesture. The survey also found that simply saying “I love you” helped provide affirmation and reassurance, and helped couples feel closer together.

In addition to improving relationships, small gestures of love can also be good for mental health and well-being. A 2020 study found that experiencing love on a daily basis helped improve participants’ self-esteem, purpose, optimism, and overall sense of well-being.

Little Things You Can Do to Show Your Love

Occasions come along once in a while, but it’s important to remember that every day is an opportunity to show your partner how much you love them. There are countless opportunities every day to do sweet, thoughtful things for your partner, depending on your relationship and the preferences of you and your partner.

Vocalize Your Affection

These are some ways to show your partner affection through words of affirmation:

  • Say “I love you” often
  • Tell them they look good
  • Laugh at your inside jokes
  • Send them cute text messages
  • Phone them once in a while just to hear their voice
  • Ask how they’re feeling when they’re not well
  • Thank them for the big and small things they do for you
  • Give them unique, personalized compliments
  • Tell them how lucky you are to have them
  • Let them know you miss them when you’re apart
  • Talk to them about your day and ask about theirs
  • Listen to them patiently when they’re upset or having a bad day
  • Remember the things they’ve told you
  • Be supportive and encouraging of their endeavors
  • Celebrate their accomplishments
  • Discuss your future together
  • Keep their secrets confidential
  • Speak to them respectfully
  • Don’t snap at them or yell at them
  • Don’t speak poorly of them to others
  • Don’t ridicule, humiliate, or embarrass them
  • Don’t interrupt them while they’re speaking
  • Don’t dismiss their ideas
  • Take their side in an argument
  • Apologize when you’re wrong
  • Inform them of your plans and whereabouts

Create Intimacy

These are some ways to show your partner affection physically:

  • Hold their hand often
  • Give them hugs and kisses for no reason
  • Sit by them when you’re together
  • Pamper them with a massage
  • Snuggle up when you watch television together
  • Hold them close when either of you is upset
  • Spend some time cuddling every night
  • Reach for your partner first thing in the morning, instead of your phone
  • Touch them frequently, whether it’s a squeeze of the shoulder or a hand on their back
  • Explore new ways of being intimate with each other

Do Things for Your Partner

These are small acts of service that can show your partner you care about them and are thinking about them:

  • Cook their favorite meal
  • Serve them breakfast in bed
  • Take care of them when they’re sick
  • Let them sleep in when they’re tired
  • Make them a cup of tea or coffee every morning
  • Finish your chores and help them with theirs
  • Keep your common spaces clean and tidy
  • Be quiet while they’re sleeping
  • Help them run errands
  • Put gas in the car if it’s running low
  • If you’re eating something, offer them a bite before you take one
  • Let them have the last slice of cake
  • Don’t complain about their burnt meatloaf
  • Be mindful of their preferences and boundaries
  • Notice things that make them happy and do them often
  • Look for ways to help them with things they struggle with 
  • Work on your bad habits

Spend Time Together

These are some ways to maximize quality time with your partner:

  • Go for walks together
  • Prioritize spending time with each other
  • Have a fun date night every month
  • Plan fun activities for the weekend
  • Take an interest in their hobbies
  • Sing them a song or grab them for a dance
  • Look for movies or shows you both enjoy watching
  • Spend a little time every day just the two of you, without phones or devices
  • Create your own traditions and do them together regularly
  • Plan small trips or staycations once in a while
  • Do things together as a team
  • Don’t let their annoying habits bother you
  • Make an effort to spend time with their family and friends
  • Treat their loved ones with affection and respect
  • Show loved ones you care about your partner
  • Give them time and space when they need it

Surprise Them With a Gift

These are some ways to show your partner love through gifts. Keep in mind that it really is the thought that counts, and not how much it costs you:

  • Leave them little notes around the house
  • Bring them fresh flowers from the garden 
  • Put mints on their pillow
  • Make them a heartfelt card
  • Take them shopping
  • Choose personalized gifts based on their tastes and interests
  • Show your gratitude and appreciation for gifts they give you
  • Don’t forget important occasions

A Word From Verywell

In relationships, it’s often the little things you do for each other on a daily basis that make you feel happy, secure, and close to your partner. These small gestures don’t take a lot of time or money, but they go a long way toward showing your partner how much you care about them. 

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Klett-Davies M, Gabb J, Fink J, M. Thomae. Enduring love? Couple relationships in the 21st century, survey findings report. Published online 2013.

  2. Oravecz Z, Dirsmith J, Heshmati S, Vandekerckhove J, Brick TR. Psychological well-being and personality traits are associated with experiencing love in everyday lifePersonality and Individual Differences. 2020;153:109620. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2019.109620

By Sanjana Gupta
Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.