1. Tell her that she’s beautiful. Even when she won’t believe you. Even when she’s in sweat pants that have permanent wine stains on the butt and her hair is tied in some kind of messy bun that looks like it’s defying gravity. Remind her that you think she’s beautiful at any given moment, because you see her beauty in the things she does, and not the things she wears on her body or her face.
2. Thank her. Not just for cooking you dinner or making your morning coffee. Don’t just thank her when she does things for you, thank her for being there. Thank her for being herself, the woman you fell in love with, the woman you continue to love. Thank her for making you the person you are when you’re with her.
3. Love her. Not just the date-night kind of love that reflects more of your attraction and infatuation than anything else. Love her in the way that shows how you truly feel. Show her affection, emotions, vulnerability. Show her the things you’re scared she’ll judge you for, because the things you’re most scared of, are ultimately the things that demonstrate the depth of your love.
4. Make it easier. Make anything easier. Tell her what you want, tell her what confuses you, what scares you, what makes you so incredibly happy, and what makes you unbearably sad. Love is not easy, but try to make it easier, easier for her to love you, to understand you, and to be with you.
5. Write it out for her. Sometimes hearing it isn’t good enough, isn’t convincing enough. When your love for her is written down, she can keep it, she can revisit it, and remind herself that she is loved, that you love her. Because sometimes she’ll forget or misunderstand the things you say, but when you write it down, she understands and remembers.
6. Remind her it’s okay to do things without you. It’s okay for her to do things on her own, for herself and by herself. Your love manifests itself when you’re together, but it doesn’t disappear when you’re apart. Remind her she doesn’t have to feel bad for going out with her friends, that you’re secure and won’t feel forgotten when she spends a weekend without you. Remind her that alone time and time away is something she deserves.
7. Encourage her passions. Tell her to do the things she loves, because you love seeing the way she lights up when she does them.
8. Believe in her. Affirm that she can do it, not just to comfort her, but because you believe she actually can. She hopes to accomplish her dreams, but you know she will, you believe she will, so remind her of that.
9. Listen. Not just to the obvious things like when her mother’s art show is, or where she wants to go for her birthday. Listen when she tells you what’s on her mind, listen to her worries, her fears, listen to the little things that happened in her day that made her smile. Listen to the tone of her voice when she talks about things that matter to her. Make sure she knows you listen to her, make sure she knows that you hear her.
10. Be present. Even when you both have a million other things on your mind, work, family, friends, politics, whatever. Remember how she makes life better when you’re with her, how you make life better with each other, and the only way to do that is to be there, fully, body and mind.
11. Remind her that your love isn’t something that weakens over time. Don’t allow your comfort to make her worth feel forgotten. The longer you two are together, naturally the more comfortable you become, but make sure she knows how special you still think she is. Time ages your relationship in terms of weeks, months, years, decades, of memories you’ve made together, but it doesn’t age the way you look at her, the way your eyes light up every time you see her smile. It doesn’t age the strength of your love, the power it has to change both of your lives in all the right ways.