Thinking About Parenting

18 Ways To Say I Love You Without Saying I Love You


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18 Ways To Say I Love You Without Saying I Love You

"What the World Needs Now is Love"

Jackie DeShannon sang that Burt Bacharach song back in 1965 and it is just as true today as it was back then. The need to love and to be loved is such a basic human need. It's a life-changing connection like no other. Its power is unmatched. Love's joy-inducing and heart-breaking attributes are difficult to explain.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have loved the same woman for forty years and can say with a twinkle in my eye that I love her more today than I ever have. The sight of her still thrills me and the sound of her voice continues to move me like nothing else. One of the darkest hours of my life was when she was in the hospital, on a ventilator, fighting for her life against Covid-19. They almost lost her twice. One of the brightest hours of my life was the day she came home to me after four months.

"Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." 


I hope I am not alone. Others genuinely love and profoundly care for their partners. They are overcome by the way that person makes them feel and consider themselves lucky to be in love. What a wonderful feeling to be in love. To love is grand and to know you are loved is magical.

Love Not Expressed Is Love Wasted

Saying "I love you" is clearly one way to express how you feel about them. Hearing those words said sincerely is both uplifting and heartwarming. Barb and I share those words at the beginning, middle, and end of every single day. When I hear those words leave her lips it's like medicine for my soul. I hold onto them like a prized possession until the next time.

Say the words. Say them often. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so don't wait with a plan to let them know then how you feel. 

Don't stop there. While the words are music to the ears, they soon strike a sour note if not backed up by actions that are in harmony with the sentiment. Making an extra effort to reinforce those words around special milestones such as anniversaries and birthdays is welcomed, but acts of love sprinkled here and there, throughout our daily lives, can firmly illustrate that what you say is genuine.

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." 

-Lao Tzu

Love Languages

Introduced in 1992 by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book called "The 5 Love Languages", love languages are different ways we communicate our feelings of love with one another. Since everyone is unique it is safe to say that not everyone connects with certain languages in the same way even within the same relationship. 

To stimulate this conversation, here are the five love languages:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Quality time
  3. Physical touch
  4. Acts of service
  5. Receiving gifts

Although a lot has changed about cultural and gender positions since 1992, they still lay a good foundation for making your love felt by another. You should know your partner's love language and how each of these points resonates with them.

My advice has always been to think about what you would do to get back the person you love, then do that now to avoid the loss. The five love languages don't have to be the final word on how to express yourself because not everyone chooses to give and show love in the same way. I will weave those five languages into my list of ways to express your love and expand upon the concept with other actionable steps to showing your love.

18 Ways To Say I Love You Without Saying I Love You

1. Communicate love-

  • Compliment them - don't take them for granted
  • Praise and encourage them when you have the chance
  • Tell them how glad you are that they chose you
  • Send a random text to let them know you're thinking of them
  • Write a love letter
  • Say it differently - this video has some examples

2. Be affectionate-
  • Give warm and enduring hugs just because
  • Hold their hand
  • Kiss them for no reason but love
  • Reach for them in the morning - before the remote or phone
  • Cuddle
  • Snuggle up by the fire or when watching TV
  • Serve up a foot or back massage
  • Walk with them, not ahead or apart from them when out

3. Listen-
  • Look at them and pay attention
  • Talk less and hear more
  • Give them the gift of your ears when they need to vent

4. Make quality time-
  • Do something they love and keep it "grumpy" free
  • Take a ride and enjoy them and your surroundings together
  • Take a walk and enjoy bonding without distractions
  • Watch a movie or program together you know they like even when it's not what you would choose

5. Express Gratitude-
  • Say please and thank you - that's never out of style
  • Make sure they know they are appreciated
  • Take time to tell them how they make you feel

6. Perform acts of love-
  • Share the chores and errands
  • Help with the kids, animals, etc.
  • Make a list of all the reasons you love them
  • Do something unexpected to make their day easier
  • Surprise them with Starbucks or similar without request
  • Cook or bring home a special meal you know they love
  • Say it in sign language

7. Give random little gifts or tokens-
  • Flowers - a single rose, carnation, etc. 
  • Food items like chocolates or pastries
  • Unique stationery items
  • A greeting card outside of dedicated events
  • Write a short poem
  • Leave a heartfelt message on a sticky note
  • Bath or beauty products
  • An ornament or small curio that matches their interests
  • A book or magazine subscription they've desired
  • Create a handmade card or trinket that's one of a kind
  • A gift card for them to treat themselves when you can't

8. Include them-
  • Ask them for their opinion
  • Running an errand? See if they'd like to go
  • Planning a trip. Make sure they have input
  • Share your secrets. Trust is a powerful expression of love
  • If you do something for yourself, ask if they'd like some too (drink, snack, etc.)
  • If you must travel without them, send a picture of something they would appreciate, or bring back a small item to let them know how much you were thinking of them

9. Stand by their side-
  • Be there for the good and the bad
  • Fight your battles united
  • Show that it's you and them, together, against the world
  • Respect their opinion

10. Keep the fire lit-
  • Have dates. Both planned and spontaneous. Don't stop.
  • Hold them like you're never going to let them go
  • Kiss them like a lover, not a brother or sister
  • Look at them with passion and desire
  • Leave a note or text about how much you want them

11. Be forgiving-
  • Overlook their quirks. I'm sure you have a few of your own
  • When they apologize, accept it graciously
  • If they're running late, don't let it ruin the planned time together

12. Understand their needs-
  • Respond to the need. If they need silence, provide it. If they need a hug, give it.
  • Learn to read their eyes and body language. Tune in to them and offer what they require.

13. Be loyal-
  • Stick up for them. Don't allow them to be talked about.
  • Don't share details to win "sides" in an argument. Those impressions you give others will live long after the topic of the fight is forgotten.
  • Prioritize your time with them. Enjoy time with friends and others but make sure to choose time with them that reflects their position in your life.

14. Pump it up-
  • Be a cheerleader when they need it the most
  • Encourage them at every opportunity
  • Reaffirm their strengths and abilities when they've forgotten

15. Be a caregiver-

  • Being the one who looks after them when they are not doing their best emotionally or physically says a lot about how much you love them

16. Keep them close while apart-
  • Have their picture on your phone screen
  • Keep a picture or small personal item at work if allowed
  • Create a playlist or mix tape in your favorite music app with songs that readily remind you of your loved one. 

Mine is called "Barb Tunes" and it has everything from rock to soul, to country, to oldies, and more. It has 102 songs but every one of them brings my baby to mind. Here are a couple of examples and why they made the list.

 I played this over and over when Barb was in the hospital. "Say You Won't Let Go" by James Arthur reminded me that I wasn't ready for our time to end and I wanted her to hang on and come back to me.

"Still Into You" by Paramore is an upbeat song instead of a love ballad but its energy fits. It talks about "getting butterflies" even after all this time and that "even on our worst nights" I'm "Still Into You." Both of those ring true in my love for Barb.

I often hear a song on the radio while we are driving together and turn to Barb and say, "That's on your list". She'll just smile. I'm a weird incurable romantic, but she gets me.

Here are some links to love song lists that might help you compile a playlist of your own:




17. Be kind-
  • Even in love, disagreements arise. Argue from a point of respect
  • During stressful times don't let embers smolder, put them out
  • Show compassion above all else, even when angry
  • Had a rough day? Don't take it out on them.

18. Do the unexpected-
  • Whether the surprise is a party, date, or small gift, providing an unexpected gesture is a sweet way of expressing love

Saying "I love you" is so important in a relationship. Backing it up with genuine expressions of love is paramount. Showing your love can be both simple and special. Don't overthink it. Let your expression of love come from the heart.

Speak your own love language. Remember that every day brings opportunities to let your significant other know just how much you love them and what they mean to you.

The things I've listed aren't all you can do and none of them take a lot of time or money. They can build a foundation of love and respect that will weather any storm your relationship encounters. 

Don't let your love go without being expressed:

To my Mom, "I love you"

To my Kids, "You make me proud"

To my Barb, "You are still the ONE!"

Now go express yours!

"Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love- and the greatest of these is love." 

-1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT