Making your kids or spouse feel respected, valued, and heard, are all ways to show love. “I love you” goes a long way, but there are so many more ways to portray it. You can say I love you without even having to speak; sometimes it’s more about actions than words. 

Encouragement

This can be used universally for spouses and children. Just listen to them talk about their dreams and goals. Even though your kids might wish to be something unattainable (being a ninja, dragon breeder, animal, etc.) it’s a good idea to entertain their aspirations. Later in life this can be something you laugh at as a family, but this way they will feel supported, encouraged, and believe nothing is unachievable. 

Inquire

Ask your kids how their day was or your spouse how work went. Inquiring about daily activities and even their moods or feelings shows interest. Another thing that goes hand in hand with inquiring is giving them your undivided attention. Look them in the eyes, put your phone down, and really show them you are committed to listening to them. 

Clean up after yourself

Okay parents, we know there is something about your significant other that just grinds your gears. Is it that she leaves her hair in the shower drain or bras hanging on doors to dry? Or is it that he never does the dishes or leaves his boots in the middle of the floor? 

Take the time to go out of your way and clean up the things that bother one another. Instead of waiting for an opportunity, make an opportunity. If she already moved your boots, or he already cleaned the shower drain, maybe you can make dinner or help with the kids so your spouse can focus on work or have a little “me time.”

Thank & share a compliment 

Let them know that they’re doing things right and are appreciated. Let them know how awesome they are; giving praise helps build self-confidence and teaches your kids to love themselves. Compliments and thanks don’t have to be given for looks either. Thank your kids for listening to you or for being nice to their siblings. Compliment your spouse on how they include the kids in your lives together, or compliment your kids’ positive outlooks and attitudes. 

Show affection

Walk downtown and hold hands – your spouse’s hands, your kids’ hands, both your spouse and your kids’ hands. Just hold hands! Holding hands has proven to relieve stress, create a sense of comfort and eliminate fear, is great for your heart, and boosts the feeling of being loved. 


Check out some of these unique phrases to use instead of simply saying “I love you” when talking to your spouse or your children. 

  • I will always be here for you.
  • You mean so much to me.
  • You’re the peanut butter to my jelly. (This is a great one for young kids that might be in elementary or preschool because they begin to understand the relationship between these two things.)
  • You’re priceless to me.
  • I’m crazy about you.
  • You bring joy to my life.
  • You are my world. 

CURATED BY SARAH RICHARDS