What’s the best way to show your wife you love her? We asked married women just that. As they told us about their spouses’ most meaningful gestures, we noticed a theme (cliché alert!): It’s the little things that count. Steal their husbands’ ideas to make your own wife swoon.
Note: Though we talked to married women in straight relationships, we’re pretty sure that many of these would apply to same-sex marriages, too.
Notice When She’s Stressed
A man’s willingness to do housework is a major predictor of marital bliss, according to Pew research.
This was true among the women we polled, too: One said she was literally moved to tears one night when her husband cleaned the kitchen. “I was so overwhelmed, so I went upstairs to lie down,” she says. “When I came back downstairs, my husband had washed every single dish in the sink and cleaned the entire kitchen.”
How’d this husband score so many points for a simple chore? He paid attention. Picking up on cues that she needs help makes her feel seen, says Megan Fleming, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in New York City. And he also stepped up: “Giving her that support undoes the heavy sense of aloneness that can often accompany stressful times,” says Fleming.
Steal his move: Women don’t always ask when they need help—so take notice of her signals, says Jane Greer, Ph.D., author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. Is she curt when she speaks to you? Sighing heavily while unloading the dishwasher? Quiet and withdrawn? Go time.
Your support doesn’t have to be limited to housework, though. Our panel of women had lots of suggestions: Run a bubble bath for her, pick up her favorite dessert, or simply ask her about her day and let her unload.