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11 Things Men Appreciate More Than Saying "I Love You," According to Relationship Experts

Sometimes, actions really do speak louder than words.

By Jenna Birch and Arricca Elin SanSone
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Everybody loves to feel appreciated and cherished, and that includes the guys in our lives. Sure, words matter, and you can tell him you love him every day; but why not show him, too? Sometimes, actions really do speak louder than words, and there are plenty of ways to show a man you love him that he'll likely appreciate even more than hearing, "I love you."

Whether it's your spouse, dad, brother, son, or significant other, every guy needs to know how glad you are that they're part of your life. But it's easy to forget to show our love when we're all rushing around with other obligations, whether it's work, school, kids, or all of the above. But from little gestures to big ones, showing support for our men is good for them — and good for our relationships with them, too.

The next time you want to reiterate your love for your man, consider actions over words. It doesn't have to be something huge; even small gestures can make your guy feel more loved, less taken for granted (because no one likes feeling overlooked!). By stepping back and doing something kind for your guy, he'll feel loved — much more deeply than if you just tell him you love him.

Here are 11 simple, yet powerful ways to express your love, according to marriage therapists:


Put your phone down.

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"When the male brain sees you checking your smart phone during dinner, it interprets that as 'I'm not important,'" says marriage therapist Dr. Mike Dow, Psy.D., Ph.D. That's because men's brains evolved to do one thing at a time while filtering out all other stimuli, he explains. Even though women function differently, your man appreciates when you focus your attention solely on him. "It says, 'You are my priority, and I love you,'" Dr. Dow says. So make eye contact while he's talking and limit interruptions.


Dress up.

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Sure, athleisure wear is comfy. But it's important to up your game occasionally. Dressing up sends a message that you still want to look good for him, no matter how long you've been together. "Men's brains are wired to respond to visual cues more than women's brains," Dr. Dow says. "Seeing you in that sexy dress shows him you desire him."


Make him his favorite meal.

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It sounds old-school, but it's probably true: "The best way to a man's heart may be through his belly," Dr. Dow says. "Knowing what he likes to eat without having to ask him demonstrates how well you know him. And the couples I've treated who know small details about each other have the happiest marriages."

RELATED: 50 Romantic Dinner Ideas

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Take care of yourself.

i love him take care of yourself
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Reducing stress, eating right, exercising, and practicing self-care are all things you do for you, but these are also ways to show you love him. "This communicates, 'I want to have a long, wonderful life with you, and I'll do whatever it takes to prevent you from experiencing the grief of losing someone,'" Dr. Dow says. What better motivation do you need to hit the gym?

RELATED: 5 Life-Saving Tips That All Women Need to Know About Heart Health


Encourage him to make time for himself.

i love him make time for himself
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Your husband may have trouble verbalizing what he needs, and that includes when he needs some down time. Suggest that he takes a day to relax with his buddies, play video games, or just sleep in occasionally. You need it, and so does he!


Compliment him.

i love him, compliment him
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"Genuine compliments confirm that you admire him, which equates to love," says clinical psychologist Andra Brosh, Ph.D. When he pops the lid on the jam jar with ease or takes out the trash without your bugging him about it, say thanks. When he's all dressed up, make sure to tell him how great he looks. You like being noticed when you make an effort, and we promise: So does he!

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Let him choose the movie.

i love him  let him choose
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Or the restaurant. Or a Sunday afternoon pastime to enjoy together. Letting him decide what to do and how to spend your downtime together sends the message that you're a team, and sometimes that means letting the other member of the team cast the deciding vote.


Thank him for the little things.

i love him say thank you
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Next time your husband drives the kids to school or goes to the grocery store, say thanks! Yes, we know you do it all the time, but it's still worth calling out when he does something without prodding. "[When] we're rushing through life, we forget to notice the good deeds. So say, 'I really appreciate that,'" says licensed marriage and family therapist, Carin Goldstein.


Give him a seven-second hug.

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Instead of a quick peck before running out the door in the morning, choose a lingering embrace. "While women connect verbally, men connect more through touch," Goldstein says. "Hug for at least seven seconds. It's a long time, but there's something about that number where the hold ends up really giving him something." And there's no doubt you'll love it, too.

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Frame a current photo.

i love him, frame a selfie
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Print the latest fun selfie of the two of you. Then frame and display on your nightstand or coffee table. It's the perfect way to show your ongoing commitment to being a couple. Plus, it's always fun to relive happy memories!


Have a quickie.

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Dr. Dow suggests that making love for even just a few minutes has feel-good benefits. "I hope that most of the time, your lovemaking is full of foreplay and romance. But other times, just have sex." Men experience an increase in dopamine, a chemical they release during sex, which stimulates the mental pleasure-and-reward center, Dr. Dow says. Women get those loving feelings when they release oxytocin during a post-sex cuddle session.

Headshot of Jenna Birch
Jenna Birch

Jenna is  a freelance journalist, focusing on topics like health, wellness, dating, relationships, beauty, and lifestyle. She's the author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life & Love, a dating guide for modern women trying to navigate today’s complicated romantic landscape. 

Headshot of Arricca Elin SanSone

Arricca Elin SanSone has written about health and lifestyle topics for Prevention, Country Living, Woman's Day, and more. She’s passionate about gardening, baking, reading, and spending time with the people and dogs she loves.

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