The expression, “ I love you,” is often considered the ultimate statement of affection or attraction. It’s seen as the peak of a relationship and the greatest way to proclaim connection. While “I love you” is a pretty meaningful phrase, it’s one that we use a lot in our relationships. So why not mix it up a bit? Go beyond “I love you,” and let your partner know how you truly feel.
I appreciate you
Appreciation involves a powerful combination of notice and gratitude, and it’s one of the things I think people crave most in relationships. It really doesn’t matter, whether it’s a small act at breakfast or a save the day kind of move, but what matters is noticing and appreciating your partner. Start naming these small things you appreciate throughout a day. “I appreciate that you got up with the baby, even though it was my turn. I appreciate you taking the lead on our taxes this year. I appreciate how good you are with my family.” Appreciation has a powerful impact on the receiver, but also on the giver, as it helps us recognize our partner’s positive qualities.
I trust you
Trust isn’t just about loyalty and honesty; it’s much broader than that. It involves vulnerability and giving up power, something most people don’t do well. When your significant other says they’ll take care of something, ditch the typical “okay,” and replace it with “I trust you.” This simple phrase reminds each of you of the power of your connection.
I believe in you
Self-doubt is something almost all humans experience, and we often turn to our partners in times when self-doubt is running high. There are lots of ways to offer encouragement and support, and this phrase is simple yet powerful. When you say “I believe in you,” it reminds your partner that when things get stressful when it seems a bit overwhelming, and when they doubt themselves, you still see their strengths and potential. Next time your significant other is struggling, try this phrase.
I hear you
The number one thing I hear couples say in therapy is that they don’t feel heard. The desire to be heard and validated is so important that many couples therapists spend several sessions just on the act of listening. This phrase is particularly important when you both don’t completely agree or see an eye to eye. Before launching into your point of view, stop, listen, and then let them know they were heard. Bonus points if you can paraphrase their point of view or highlight the emotions they’re communicating.
I love you because…
Let’s face it, the phrase “I love you,” is an oldie but a goodie. There’s a reason we say it so often. But let’s give this phrase a little redecoration, by adding the word “because,” and followed by a reason. It can be anything small such as, “I love you because you always close the door when you leave the room.” Or it could be something bigger like, “I love you because you care so much for my parents.” Adding this extra piece can make this phrase feel more personal and unique, and it also helps us stay appreciative of our partners and their goodness.
It will always be a moving expression, but try something different this week and see how it cherishes and spice the connection in your relationship.