"This Is Why I Love You:" How To Express Love
By: Corrina Horne
Updated February 13, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
Is there anything more wonderful than to hear or say, "I love you"? Being able to tell someone you love them for the first time is a powerful, intimate moment, whether that is a new friend you've welcomed into your life, a romantic partner, or a squirming bundle of joy. The most direct means of expressing love is to simply say the words: "I love you." There are countless other ways to express love aside from the simplicity and straightforward nature of this phrase, and many other means of expressing love can more effectively and creatively tell someone you love them.
Why Should You Express Love?
Expressing and demonstrating love are important aspects of any loving relationship. Even in a parent-child relationship, regular demonstrations and expressions of love are absolutely essential in maintaining a sense of equanimity and safety. In friendship, expressing love is important, and in romance, expressing your feelings for your partner (or prospective partner) is usually the best move. Why? If you feel love but do not express it, your partner, parent, or loved one is unlikely to truly know and understand the depth of your feelings for them.
Although many people might feel safe and secure in relationships without regular praises and verbal expressions of commitment and adoration, most people do enjoy being consistently told that they are loved, valued, and seen. If you appreciate something about your loved ones, you should let them know, not only for their well-being but also for your own. Expressing love may lead to improved mental health and a continuous bond of intimacy and trust for both you and your loved one.
Nonverbal Expressions Of Love
Nonverbal expressions of love are most commonly relegated to physical expressions of affection. These might be subtle, such as touching your partner's back, or always trying to be physically close, or maybe overt, such as constantly holding your partner's hand, or hugging and touching on a near-constant basis. Physical affection is often a key aspect of a loving relationship and can help partners stay close by increasing intimacy.
One of the simplest nonverbal expressions of love is a simple smile; smiling at your partner is a gentle, quiet way of demonstrating love and care, as a smile can go a long way in expressing approval and affection. Parents are often caught smiling at their children's antics, friends are very often seen smiling and laughing together, and partners are often witnessed just smiling at one another. Smiling is an important part of nonverbally demonstrating love.
Verbal Expressions Of Love
The most obvious verbal expression of love is simply saying, "I love you." Far from the only means of verbally expressing love, though, "I love you" sometimes fails to encompass the breadth of your feelings for someone. To verbally express your love, you might include your partner in plans you are making for the future, demonstrating your hope that the two of you will be together long-term. You can welcome your partner into family conversations regarding preferred traditions and practices, too, suggesting that the two of you will be together for the long haul.
Telling your partner all of their positive attributes can also demonstrate your love, as it shows your partner exactly what it is that you love about them. You can mention your partner's skills and habits, or focus entirely on matters of character; whatever you choose, be sure to highlight the traits, characteristics, and behaviors that bring a smile to your face and warmth to your chest.
Bragging about your loved one is another way to verbally demonstrate love. Talking about your loved one's accomplishments, goals or abilities not only shows your partner how much you care for them, but it also demonstrates to others that you feel proud of your connection and that you are on the same side. You can do this directly when you introduce your partner to friends, family, or coworkers, or you can do this over social media, drawing attention to your partner's accomplishments after a particularly difficult task is completed or a milestone is achieved.
Creative Expressions Of Love
If simple acts and phrases aren't quite your style, there are numerous creative ways to demonstrate and express your love for someone. Creating a gift for a loved one can communicate love and devotion, particularly if the item in question is something special and unique between the two of you. Perhaps one of the most classic methods of expressing love creatively is through creating poetry for a loved one; poets have created ballads and simple verses for their loved ones for hundreds of years, and the practice is unlikely to go anywhere soon.
In a similar vein, you can use music and lyrics to express your love for someone. Creating a powerful melody to highlight your partner's beauty is one way to use music to express love. You can also create lyrics for your loved one, or a combination of the two. Videos are another similar method of expressing love for someone, as you are able to create a visible representation of your feelings for someone else.
Other creative ways to express love can include planting a tree or flower for you and your loved one; planting something in honor of the two of you can demonstrate your wish for your bond to stand the test of time, just as you hope your plant thrives and grows.
Exploring Love Languages
Exploring you and your partner's love language is another way to demonstrate love in new and fresh ways. Love language tests can help you determine what forms of expression you prefer and feel most loved by and can help you see what your partner most often prefers to see and hear in expressions of love. The five love languages include physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, and quality time. Each of these represents a unique way to give love and receive love, and it is common for two people with very different ways to give and receive love to enter into a relationship. This can initially cause some friction within the relationship, as one or both partners might not feel appropriately loved and seen.
Discovering one another's love languages can help you understand how to best express love for your partner, and can help you communicate how you will best feel loved. People who prefer physical touch will prefer a lot of physical affection and intimacy from their partner. People for whom acts of service are the best way to feel and show love might hope their partner will gas up their car from time to time, or take care of an important task without being asked and might do those things for their partner. Individuals for whom quality time is important may want to spend hours just being together, without a specific agenda or plan in mind. For someone whose love language is gift giving, receiving small tokens on a regular basis is ideal. And for someone who functions best with words of affirmation, a well-placed compliment each day will speak volumes.
Love languages are not ways to determine who is low maintenance, or who requires the most from the other in order to feel loved; instead, they are tools to help couples (and families) navigate the complexities of love while making sure everyone feels and experiences the type of love they flourish in.
When Expressing Of Love Is Undesirable
In some instances, expressions of love should be kept to a minimum. In the case of unrequited love, unending expressions of love are unlikely to be well-received, and could even become grounds for deep discomfort or anxiety. If you express love, affection, or attraction for someone and they do not reciprocate, it may be time to retreat. Expressing love can also be undesirable in instances where one or both parties are unavailable. If someone is in a serious relationship or marriage, for instance, expressions of love are best withheld. If someone is significantly younger or older, expressing love should also be regarded with extreme caution. Although love is a beautiful thing, there are certain circumstances that require one or both parties to exercise caution or restraint.
How To Effectively Express Love
Expressing love is a multifaceted, varied thing, and each expression will depend on the relationship you have with your loved ones, the intimacy you share, and the depth of your love. Regular expressions of love encourage trust, intimacy, and security within relationships, and can create a wonderful sense of bonding and community among friends and romantic partners alike.
Expressing love will look different for everyone based on what you like and hope for, and what your partner or other loved one likes and hopes for in your relationship. There is no single way to correctly or effectively express love; instead, expressing love is a constant ebb-and-flow, or give-and-take, wherein you and the person with whom you are communicating express your love, affection, and commitment, and wait for the return of a similar sentiment. Some periods might see fewer expressions of love, as in moments of great stress or transition, and others will see over-the-top expressions, as in the first few weeks after moving in together, or the first few months of a new relationship. As you grow to learn more about your partner and yourself, your loving expressions with continue to grow and evolve.