Saying “I love you” can become a form of punctuation in a long-term relationship. People say it at the end of a phone call, or on their way out the door, or as they’re falling asleep at night. And there’s nothing wrong with this. Expressing love often is a good thing! And it’s a nice way to check in with your partner each day — or multiple times a day.
Except that when you say it so often, the phrase can become rote. How often do you say those three words, “I love you,” without stopping to think about the fact that you love this person? Most of the time, right? Again, there’s nothing wrong with this. We’re all busy. We have jobs to do, Facebook statuses to update, weeds to pull, mail to open, sex to have. If we paused to consider what it means to love someone every time we said “I love you,” we’d never have time to shop for groceries.
That all said, sometimes it’s nice to stop and actually think about how much your partner means to you. So here are 10 things you can say to your partner to convey this — words that are much harder to recite without thinking about what they really mean. Especially the parts that make you blush. Just don’t use them all up in one day!
1. You’re so effing hot.
That sneaky swear word is there to say: I’m so overwhelmed by how good-looking you are that only an f-bomb will truly convey my feelings.
2. I’m more in love with you today than I was yesterday.
We like the specificity of this. It’s not just that you love your partner more than you used to — it’s that today you actually sat down and thought about the fact that your love grew in the past 24 hours.
3. You just made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants.
OK, maybe skip the pee mention. But you get the idea. Fortunately, for long-term monogamous couples, a sense of humor doesn’t droop in the same way an aging penis or aging boobs do. Still, it’s easy to forget how funny your partner is. This is a reminder to take the time to make each other laugh… and to appreciate it when it happens.
4. I love your body.
When’s the last time you said something like this to your partner? Sure, they know you love them, but do they know you still lust after their body? Stare and ogle all you like — at some point in a relationship, this starts to feel like a compliment.
5. I hate everybody today, but you — you I can stand.
Because sometimes a muted compliment is the best compliment of all. And on some days, the best we can hope for in marriage is that we’re with someone we can stand, day in and day out.
6. I love watching you run/give a speech/play an instrument/take a photograph.
Standing back and admiring your partner is a way to increase the erotic distance between the two of you… and to remind you and your partner what it was like when you two met, and you each thought the other was the bee’s knees.
7. I love it when we talk, and I love it when we don’t.
Talk is cheap, but companionable silence is something you have to work for.
8. You look even better now than when I met you.
Because aging gets everyone down. Even better if you can be specific: Find something about your partner that has improved with age — a leaner face, perhaps? a more muscular torso? — and compliment them on that.