Three red fruit cupcakes with hazelnuts around them
Illustration by Marta Pucci

How to Express Love to Your Partner? Ways to Say I Love You.

Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Katherine Hertlein,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Date published:
4/27/2022
Last updated:
5/8/2022
Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Laura Vowels,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Date published:
4/27/2022
Last updated:
5/8/2022

TL;DR

  • Many people find it difficult to express their love to their partner.
  • It can be difficult to find the right words to say, but it's important to make sure your partner feels your love for them.
  • Try asking your partner what makes them feel the most loved. Really listen to what they have to say and commit to doing more of it.
  • Learning more about love languages can help to understand your own and your partner's preferences when it comes to giving and receiving love.

According to the song, “Words come easy when they’re true…” But we rarely come across anyone who believes that words come easy with heartfelt declarations of love.

Have your hands gone clammy just at the thought or do you relish the opportunity to publicly declare how wonderful your partner is? If you answered 'yes' to the latter, count yourself lucky. For many people, just the idea of making a ‘mushy’ speech is enough to send them running for the hills.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to express your love for your partner and they don’t all need to leave you quivering at the knees

Finding the right words

Those three little words, “I love you”. The more you say them, the easier they’ll become, we promise. Try saying “I love you” before you hang up on a phone conversation when you’re apart, or at the end of a busy day when you’re drifting off to sleep. It’s a really lovely little habit to get into, particularly when you're in a long-term relationship.

But if you’re struggling with “I love you” there are plenty of other phrases you can try. Tell your partner they’re your favourite person in the world, or tell them specifically what it is you love about them the most. If we’re straying back into the realms of cringe, sorry – let’s take a step back.

Why not invent and use affectionate nicknames for one another. These don’t have to be shared in public but can be a lovely way to cement the connection within your romantic relationship. Something private that’s just between you. 

Or why not borrow words from someone else?

Read a poem or find a song that means something. It could be a wedding song, a classic love song or a reminder of a wonderful holiday. Either way, there’s a reason they say music speaks to the soul. If you’re struggling to get the right words out, turn on a favourite song to say it for you. 

Whatever you choose to say, say it regularly. Get in the habit of expressing your love to your partner every day. That way it’s never in doubt. Regular expression of love is a true foundation pillar of a healthy relationship.

So much so it's some of the best relationship advice we can give you.

Showing your love in other ways

If words are really not your thing, don’t panic, there are plenty of other ways you can share your feelings without having to break out the thesaurus. 

Why not leave your partner little notes or illustrations to show you’re thinking of them? You could tuck one into their lunchbox so they’ll come across it later in the day. Or if you have to slip out early for work, why not leave a post-it on the mirror saying 'good morning'?

Show physical affection regularly throughout the day. From a touch on the arm as you pass one another to holding hands while you’re walking down the street. Reaching out for your partner and touching them in a non-sexual way – one that isn’t designed to lead to more – can feel wonderfully comforting in a genuinely loving relationship.

And don't save treats for a special occasion. Think about your partner’s favorite thing to do in the evening and make it happen as a surprise for them. Run a bath and light scented candles ready for them to have a quick soak while you prep the dinner, or order their favorite takeaway to give them a night away from the kitchen.

Expressing your love doesn’t have to be about grand gestures, expensive gifts or flowery words. It’s about showing you truly understand your partner and want to go the extra mile to do something they’ll love and appreciate. And it’s about continuing to make the effort across the course of your long-term relationship, not just once in a blue moon.

Exploring love languages

We’ve touched a bit on some of the love languages above, without calling them out.

But if you’re not familiar with them, love languages can help us to work out the best way to express love to our partners so they’ll appreciate it (and feel it!) the most. They also help us to work out our own preferences when it comes to giving and receiving love.

The five love languages are: acts of service, quality time, gifts, physical touch and words of affirmation. You can find out more about each one in our article that focuses specifically on love languages. In summary though, different types of actions and behaviours have a different affect on each and every one of us. 

For some of us, it's important to be told we're special, to hear the words, "I love you" (words of affirmation). While for others, we feel loved the most when someone brings us a thoughtful gift. While we may appreciate our partner giving or doing all the things on the love languages list, only one or two of them will really speak to us deep down.

You can work out your own and your partner's love languages to understand a little more about how you react to one another and how you can best express your love to them. If you've ever wondered why your partner is put out by the bouquet of flowers you present them with when you've come home late, consider whether it's 'quality time' and a meaningful conversation they really crave. Or if your appreciative words are falling on deaf ears, think about whether pitching in to help with the washing up or putting the bins out without being asked (acts of service) might do the trick instead.

Talk to your partner about what makes them happiest and then aspire and commit to doing more of that thing. Sounds simple when we put it like that, doesn't it!

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