The first time the phrase “I love you” is said in a relationship, it can hold a lot of weight. Rightly so, as it is a powerful and meaningful sentiment. However, after a few years of shouting “I love you” up the stairs before leaving for work it can begin to feel more like a space filler. Here are eleven ways to better convey the love you truly feel for your partner. Hint: specificity is key.

1. “You inspire me to [example].”

How great would it be to inspire someone to do something? Inspirational people aren’t typically ‘regular’ people- they’re famous athletes or great world leaders! Putting your partner on this level is a great way to show your love, whether you tell them something like “you inspire me to become a better cook” or simply “you inspire me to be a better person,” it’s something that is sure to hit home. 

2. “I am proud of [something they do].”

Something I say to my partner nearly every day is “I am proud of how hard you work for our family.” This is a true sentiment, but no matter how many times I say it my partner always tears up. This is because the statement shows that they have been seen, that their hard work is appreciated. That is what love is. 

3. “I love your [something you love].”

This could be something as deep as “I love your caring heart” or as silly as “I love your button nose,” but complimenting your partner with a statement like this shows that you’re taking a little more effort than the simple phrase “I love you.”

4. “Thank you for [example].”

This is another one that makes your partner feel seen and acknowledged. This works for both simple tasks (think “Thank you for taking out the trash”) and bigger ones (“Thank you for loving me for who I am”). 

5. “I love the way you [example].”

This phrase can go so many ways. “I love the way you make pasta- it’s delicious!” “I love the way you say hi to every dog we pass on the road- it’s so cute!” “I love the way you know how to calm me down when I’m anxious.”

6. “You know me so well.”

While this isn’t specific necessarily, it does show your partner that you acknowledge them, It could also be something to elaborate on- “Oh, vegetarian lasagna for dinner! You know me so well!”

7. “I respect you.”

Respect goes a very long way in any relationship, but especially a romantic one. Without respect, it can fall apart fast. Make sure you feel it, and make sure you acknowledge it. 

8. “You are my best friend.”

Who doesn’t want to spend their entire life having a sleepover with their best friend that is also their partner? Let them know that they are everything to you- a partner and a best friend.

9. “I’ll support you.”

Financially? Emotionally? Physically? It probably depends on the scenario! Be specific and supportive. 

10. “How can I help?”

When you’re overwhelmed this phrase can feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders. If you can do anything- even just washing a dish or two- it can be such a help. Actions speak louder than words. Just remember to actually do what they ask for!

11. “I forgive you.”

This is the most important one of all. Make it specific as well- “I forgive you for getting angry,” “I forgive you. This is a scary situation.” “I understand your intentions.” The reason many relationships end is old arguments being dragged up every time there’s a new one. Don’t let this happen to you and your partner- forgive them and let them know. 

Taking the time to make your declarations of love specific make your partner feel acknowledged, but can also make you feel more in love- simply by taking those few extra moments each day to consider what it is that makes you love this person in your life.