There are two categories of people in relationships - those who go all-out to spoil you on specific occasions, and those who actually care about you.

People in the first category are generally recognized by the way in which they go to town to demonstrate their affection when it comes to the big events. They will spend a fortune on a big birthday present or splash out on an exotic weekend away for an anniversary. In these respects, it is very easy for you to fall into the trap of believing that you are incredibly special to them. But when it comes down to everyday life, they never lift a finger. When you actually need them in a time of crisis, or when the relationship you have with them is challenged because you might be going through a hard time, they are nowhere to be seen. You won't find this kind of person popping down to the pharmacy to collect some headache pills when you have a migraine, or making you a bowl of chicken soup when you are under the weather. So suddenly, you don’t feel that special anymore, but you think back to the extravagant dinner or holiday you were treated to, and you hang on in there, albeit, a bit confused.

People in the second category are those who demonstrate their affection continuously, and most often through the smallest acts. Because they pay close attention to the finer details about you and your life, they know how much the tiniest things count, and so you can rely on them to weather even the roughest storm with you. They simply love you, no matter what. With these kinds of people in your life, you never find yourself questioning how much you mean to them, even if they don’t spend a lot of money on you. In other words, their love for you is based on need, not want. Click here to read another article of mine which will help you to learn more about the distinction between the ‘want’ and ‘need’ behaviors of a person. You need to steer clear of the former, and embrace the latter type of person. 

So the moral of the story is, the most meaningful acts a person can carry out in a relationship, has nothing to do with extravagance or expense. If you are looking for ways to show someone just how much you really do care for and love them, here are some special small acts that can mean so much in your relationship, and cost you very little, if anything at all.

1. Leave love letters

It's such a quick and easy way to say that you care, and it never fails to surprise. Place a love note for that special person somewhere unusual where they will be sure to see it (eg, on their pillow before going to bed), and you can guarantee that you'll make them smile.

2. Take the time to listen

Your partner will really appreciate it if you take time to listen to what they have to say. Show them the love they need by simply listening, and without the need to chip in and share your opinions. Let them get it off their chest. Even if they always seems to be moaning, remember that they only feel that they can share their sentiments with you because of the trust in your relationship. Cherish that, and let them express themselves.

3. Go along with their plans

Sometimes, you have to agree to compromise and try something that your partner enjoys. Whether it's going to a show that you hate, or listening to their playlist in the car, healthy relationships are all about give and take. They will love to share their experiences with you, and will appreciate that you've taken the time and effort to enjoy those experiences with them.

4. Say good morning in a text

If you and your partner do not live together, send them a good morning text. If you do live together, send them a special good morning text when either of you leaves the home, wishing them a good day, with love. You are not just sending a greeting - you are telling them that they are your first and most important thought for the day.

5. Always follow through

Never let your partner down at the last minute, and never bail out. If you say that you are going to do something, always do it. Reliability is very attractive in a relationship. You may think that it equates to dullness, but if you can show that you are trustworthy, your partner will appreciate it, and your relationship will only grow stronger.

6. Be thoughtful and responsive

Thinking of others is never more important than when you are in a relationship. It is very easy to be selfish and to think only of your own needs and desires, however, when you put your partner first, you can be sure that you will make them happy. Be there for them in the good times and in the bad, and always show support and strength. Learn what they like and hate, and surprise them with kind gestures and thoughtful touches.

7. Always show patience

Patience in a relationship, when practised correctly, will not go unnoticed. Try to restrain yourself from losing your cool, and take the time to find out more about what makes your partner tick. Allow yourself, and your partner, time to adjust to your relationship, and try to turn potential arguments into discussions.

8. Honesty is the best policy

Many people often show a surprising lack of honesty towards the people in their lives, even their nearest and dearest. Often, a person lies to save the partner's feelings; however, demonstrating honesty towards our significant other is essential for fostering a strong and trustworthy relationship. If you can tell your partner the truth, you are showing them that you care and respect them sufficiently to be on the level. Of course, the way in which you present the truth matters too. Never be deliberately hurtful; you should always consider your partner's feelings and emotions when broaching an uncomfortable truth. The bottom line is that it is vitally important that they know that they can expect honesty from you, whatever the circumstance.

9. Keep your partner emotionally safe

Both men and women have a need to feel safe. Although they express and feel this need in different ways, the need for emotional safety nevertheless remains. Emotional safety is not the same thing as physical safety. Whereas a man may relish the opportunity to physically safeguard his partner, he will still require emotional safety to be demonstrated to him. It can be difficult to reveal your inner self, to open up your feelings to the world and express the way that you feel. Many people, especially men, worry that to do so will open them up to criticizm, derision and possibly rejection. Both partners need to offer emotional protection from harm to their partner so that they can reveal their innermost feelings without fear of judgement.

10. Show compromise

Just because you love your partner does not indicate that you will necessarily always like them. You may have completely different interests, likes and dislikes, and even some personality characteristics that you each cannot relate to. As long as you are generally compatible with each other, this is not a problem, but you must be prepared to show compromise with each other. Be open and prepared to join them in their experiences and encourage them to do the same for you. For a relationship to succeed, there must be an even balance of give and take on both sides.

In conclusion

In conclusion, these 10 acts may seem small in comparison to ‘champagne, caviar and international traveling’, but in reality, they are worth more to the people you love than anything money can buy. All that is really required from you is a bit of time and effort. So take the time to forge a strong bond, and that way, you can both find satisfaction and fulfilment. 

I would love to hear your comments or answer any questions you might have about this post.

Yours sincerely,   


Dr. Carissa Coulston, Clinical Psychologist

BSc(Hons), MPsychol(Clinical), PhD, MAPS