1. Pledge to make your boyfriend or girlfriend laugh at least once a day. You don’t have to be naturally funny to Google a joke that’s in line with your significant other’s sense of humor. Alternatively, cite a hilarious Tweet sent by one of their favorite comedians, whom you should definitely follow with the intent of borrowing useful material. You might also relay an embarrassing anecdote from your childhood, or confess an inappropriate thought you’ve been having about your elderly neighbor. If all else fails, tickle the hell out of them. Everyone loves to laugh, and it’s especially satisfying to laugh along with the person you love.
2. Instead of saying “I love you,” tell your partner exactly why you love them. Your proclamation doesn’t have to be rooted in some major observation. Simply list one of the many little reasons why you adore your significant other—even if it’s because they accidentally farted just when you needed to smile. The difference between knowing that you’re appreciated and knowing why is akin to the distinction between watching your favorite band play a concert on TV and seeing them perform live.
3. Seduce your significant other at a time when you don’t normally have sex. When you jump your partner’s bones at a surprising time, the sex is automatically more exhilarating. Off-hour copulation is perhaps the easiest way to break the sensual routine so many couples inevitably fall into. And, like pizza, sex is pretty much always well received.
4. Say thank you when they least expect it, for a reason they least anticipate. The power of “thank you” is great, especially when you ambush someone with your gratitude. Say thank you when your partner completes an irksome household chore or fetches the iPad to spare you from getting up from the couch. But also say it for absolutely no reason other than to convey just how happy you are to be with them.
5. Find a new reason to compliment your partner. It’s lovely to say something nice about the way your significant other is dressed or to comment on their standout personality traits. But that’s obvious territory than can be covered by their parents, friends, and colleagues. Differentiate your role in your partner’s life with a compliment only you can give them. Get specific, or be broad. No matter what, be thoughtful. Tell them you love the way they look while they sleep, or that you’re addicted to the melody of their snoring. Tell them that they’re awesome at oral sex. Or that you know in your heart how great a parent they’ll be to your hypothetical children.
6. Tag your boyfriend or girlfriend in an Instagram post that’s meaningful within the context of your coupledom. You shouldn’t even have to elaborate. Just tag and let them smile with recognition as they review the post you’ve singled out just for them—as funny or entertaining or absolutely insane. This will remind them how wonderful it is to share so many inside jokes and reinforce the strength of your bond.
7. Buy them a set of their favorite toiletries. That way, the next time they run out of lotion, shampoo, hair gel, or soap, they won’t even have to think twice about running to the store to replace those items, or having to lean on samples skimmed from hotel rooms in the interim. Beyond saving your partner the cost of purchasing another round of grooming necessities, supplying someone with backups of their must-have beauty products is an incredibly thoughtful act.
8. While you’re at it, buy them a few pairs of their favorite socks and underwear. That way, when their existing supply starts to look a little tattered, they can just dip into their cache of freshies without worrying about placing an order or stopping by the store on their way home from work.
9. Stockpile their favorite wine and beer, too. Once you hit adulthood, you shouldn’t have to go on a liquor run or head to a bar every time you feel like drinking. It’s so much more convenient to grab a bottle from the cupboard. Invest in a supply of your partner’s favorite booze and witness how grateful they are whenever the urge to get tipsy strikes. Buying alcohol in bulk is cost effective anyway.
10. Check something off your partner’s To Do list before they get to it. You probably know of at least a few errands lingering on your boyfriend or girlfriend’s never-ending list of Tasks To Accomplish To Function As An Adult. Spare the person you love the tedium of picking up the dry cleaning or grocery shopping by doing it first. Arguably, granting someone the power to cross something off their To Do list is the best gift you can give.
11. Insist on leaving your phones at home the next time you take a walk or go out to eat. You’ll be shocked by how much more attention you end up paying to each other without fighting the itch to look at a screen. Even couples that are madly in love tend to forget just how much they enjoy each other’s distraction-free company
12. Executive produce an evening out without asking your partner for input. Sometimes, the biggest barrier to a romantic night out is the logistical aspect. So take the lead and book a reservation at that restaurant your boyfriend or girlfriend has been dying to try, or go ahead and purchase tickets to the concert or play they mentioned seeing offhandedly. Then surprise them with a calendar listing for the time and date along with a note about how you’d like to celebrate no particular occasion.
13. Stay up to date on whatever interests your significant other. Subscribe to newsletters centered on your partner’s hobbies and bookmark the websites they visit regularly. The value in staying up-to-date on the stuff they care about is that you’ll be able to speak intelligently about the topics they care about most. They’ll be especially impressed when you reach the point of sending them links to videos and stories you know they’ll enjoy before they encounter the content themselves.
14. Start a joint “squirrel fund” to save money so you can splurge together later. Agree to throw a dollar into a designated jar each day, or add a few bucks to your stash of cash whenever either of you feels like it. But don’t count your savings until six months pass, at which point you should tap your fund to buy something you wouldn’t ordinarily spend money on, like a fancy dinner or couple’s massages. By the time you count your hoarded dough after months of squirreling it away in small increments, it’ll seem like free money.