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It's the time of year for expressing your love to that special someone in your life, but many people struggle to find the right way to communicate their feelings.
You've heard that actions speak louder than words, but what actions say "I love you" the loudest?
If you're looking for ideas, here are five simple ways to show your love without using any words at all.
Love may come from your heart (not literally, but you get the idea), but it can be shown by opening your ears and shutting your mouth, as research has shown that people who listen have more successful relationships.
"Active listening is about making a conscious decision to hear what people are saying," according to Psychology Today. "It's about being completely focused on others — their words and their messages — without being distracted."
Practice active listening as often as possible. Even if your mind tends to wander, the more you listen, the better you'll get at it, and your loved one will notice.
Perform acts of kindness
Little acts of service performed here and there can go a long way in strengthening a relationship, so show your love through thoughtful gestures. This can be as simple as opening the door for your loved one or bringing home flowers for no reason.
If you are having trouble thinking of what service would make a difference, think of something your significant other does that you take for granted. It could be something easy, like watering plants or doing laundry, or something that gives your loved one a headache, like taking the car in for an oil change or fixing the fence.
Any stress you take away will be truly appreciated.
Offer a little space
While it may seem counterintuitive to building a close relationship, it's important to recognize the value of giving loved ones personal space when necessary. Knowing how much time to spend together and apart will be unique to your relationship.
"All couples negotiate this core dilemma in different ways, coming up with their own unique solutions that, in an ideal world, suit them both," psychotherapist Albertina Fisher writes for Welldoing. "Some couples, for example, spend almost all their spare time together and would never contemplate taking separate holidays; other couples happily agree to prioritize their own interests, careers, and friends."
Regularly arrange to do what works for you and your partner, whether it be a night out with friends or a quiet morning alone (you can offer to take the kids or the dog to a park).
Just remember that, while occasional solitude is healthy, you should balance your time apart with quality time together.
Cut out negativity
Sometimes expressions of love are more about the words you don't say – particularly if you're prone to negativity, fault-finding and criticizing your significant other.
Though it's natural for a couple to occasionally get on one another's nerves, the Gottman Institute found that eliminating phrases that begin with words such as "you always" or "you never" can make a big difference in a relationship.
Instead, opt for a way to communicate your feelings without causing tempers to flare. Next time you're tempted to get angry, lighten the mood with some laughter or focus on the positive aspects of your partner.
Give thoughtful gifts
Don't forget that one of the classic ways of showing affection is to give your significant other a gift – especially as this might be a love language for that person.
While chocolate, flowers or jewelry may spring to mind, if you truly want to impress your significant other, think outside the box. Instead of opting for old standbys, give something original.
In these cold winter months, nothing says "I love you" better than a luxurious blanket from Minky Couture. With customizable fabrics, patterns, sizes and high-quality material, your loved one's Minky blanket will be a unique and a long-lasting reminder of your affection for years to come.
Don't have a significant other? That's no reason not to treat yourself and buy your own Minky Couture blanket for cozy nights in.