Being in a relationship isn’t easy, contrary to what most people think. All those damn rom-coms make you grow up thinking that it’s all rainbows and sunshine the entire time. Then, you get older and inevitably question why none of your relationships have been working out the way they always seem to in movies. While there are a bunch of reasons why your relationship may not be working the way it should, one way to strengthen your relaysh no matter what is to show your appreciation more often.

This is because all relationships are work. It’s not like a desk job where you can get by doing the bare minimum and still collect your paycheck every week. It’s a high-intensity construction job where you’re dripping with sweat by the day’s end and that’s how you know you’ve done a job well done. You can’t just claim to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend without putting in the work to earn that title. Although it seems totally obvious, one thing most people seem to forget is that you still have to show your significant other you care about them — especially after you’ve been together for a while. You need to show them how much you appreciate all they do for you and hopefully, they’ll be doing the same for you. If they’re taking you for granted, that’s a whole other fish to fry.

One of the biggest reasons relationships end up failing is simply because one or both people aren’t showing their appreciation. It’s really the little things that keep a relationship together. Imagine your relationship is a giant roller coaster. Now imagine all the little screws that keep it all together. Those little suckers may be small, but their purpose is hella important. Each and every screw is a time you show your appreciation for your bae. Our relationships need this or it’ll just fall apart. We’re here to help you save or strengthen your relationship with these little things you can do every day to show your appreciation.

1. Say Thank You

If this isn’t the easiest way to show your appreciation, I don’t know what is. Honestly, why don’t more people do this? You probably have gotten used to the things you partner does to show their affection and don’t even think of it as something that needs thanks but it really is. Even if they hold the door open for you or bring you a cup of coffee in the morning, you should be saying thank you because every relationship is about give, take, thank and reciprocate.

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2. Leave Little Love Notes

It might seem a little corny for you to leave little love notes lying around but believe me, it’s a fantastic way to show your appreciation. It doesn’t have to be something ridiculously mushy about how your heart grows weary whenever they’re away. Just write down that you hope they have a great day and that you’ll be thinking of them. It’s short, sweet, and makes a huge difference.

(Fun fact: During Sean Lowe‘s season of The Bachelor, Catherine Giudici set herself apart from the other women by sneaking Sean love notes. He eventually proposed to her and the two are now married with an adorbz baby boy. To this day, Catherine leaves her man letters hidden in their home! Every once in a while, he’ll Instagram a shot of one of them. Talk about relationship goals!)

3. Give Them a Random Hug

Hugs are sorely underrated. Everyone basically loves a good hug unless it’s a super hot day or you just returned from a high-intensity workout. Even giving your S.O. a little hug when they first arrive at your place is enough to show how much you appreciate them. If they ask why you’re hugging them so much, just tell them it’s because you want to. Nothing more needs to be said.

4. Plate Their Food

After making them dinner or even ordering Chinese food, make them a plate of food. Load it up and bring them the condiments they really like for that specific meal. It’s really easy for you to do, it doesn’t cost you anything, and your partner will appreciate the eff out of it.

5. Pack Them a Snack for Work

Does your lover get up early for work and basically bolt out the door? If so, just sneak a little snack into their briefcase, purse, car or anywhere else they’ll definitely find it. You don’t have to say anything about it either. When they get to work and see it’s there, they’ll know it was you. This small way to show your appreciation will basically make their whole day.

PRO TIP: If you’re putting it in their car, make sure it’s in a super obvious place. No one wants to find a three-week old bag of sliced apples in their glove compartment.

6. Pick Up Their Favorite Candy on the Way Home

A lot of people stop for gas or groceries or run any other little errand on their way home from work. It’s not like you have to go out of your way to just pick up a candy bar you know your S.O. loves. It only costs a dollar or so but the love your partner will feel is worth a hell of a lot more. Do this every now and then and your significant other will definitely feel appreciated.

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7. Make Their Favorite Meal for Dinner

Unless their favorite meal is some ridiculously complicated dish the chefs on Iron Chef would butcher, you should make it for them. This is especially great to do after they’ve given you some good news. Use it as a way to celebrate and show your appreciation for them.

8. Let Them Pick the Movie (or the TV Show)

Sometimes you just have to give in and let them choose what to watch. But when you do this in a way that’s negative and shows your defeat, it’s not really all that nice. The next time you sit down for a movie night or you can’t decide what to watch together, just let your partner choose. It’s not all that difficult to sit through a couple hours of something you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen yourself and it makes them feel great.

9. Compliment Something Other Than Their Looks

You probably tell your S.O. how attractive they are regularly (hopefully!). But something that can make them feel ever better than being called a hot piece of arm candy would be a compliment about their hobbies or interests or personality. You name it. When you show your appreciation for their non-physical qualities, they know that your relationship is more than skin-deep.

10. Fill Their Drink Cup When You Get Up

Another really, really simple thing you can do daily to show your appreciation is to fill up their cup of water, soda or alcohol when you get up to do something. Even if you’re not going to kitchen, it’s easier for you to do it than for them to. Let them relax and enjoy themselves.

11. Express Your Feelings for Them — Verbally

After you’ve been with someone for a while, you forget to tell them how you feel about them – and I’m not just talking about that habitual, “I love you,” when you leave or hang up the phone. I talking about taking a minute to stop what you’re doing and tell them how you feel. It’s really easy to say something like, “I love you and all the things you do for me,” but it’ll mean so much to your partner.

12. Take Over Their Chores List When Their Busy

Everyone has times in their lives when they’re busy as hell and can’t seem to find a moment to just breathe. If you notice it’s been a particularly busy day or week for your boo, do some of their chores. Fold their laundry, fill their gas tank (that’s a super nice gift) and do those things that would normally take a decent chunk of their time so they can just chill for a minute. If you have some extra time, use it to lighten their load a little.

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13. Do the Dishes if They Made the Food

This is just a little deal the both of you should have in general but if you don’t normally do this, it’s a fantastic way to show your appreciation for their hard work. They made the meal. While it might not have been that hard for them to do, you can easily give your thanks by letting them relax afterward while you do the dishes. Getting into this routine will strengthen your relationship in the long run.

14. Give them a Small Gift

Sometimes gifts are the best way to show your appreciation but they don’t have to be something ridiculously expensive. Jewelry and fancy watches are nice on Christmas or birthdays but you can tone it down a bit for just a nice daily reminder or your love. If they’ve been mentioning they keep forgetting to buy a pair of sunglasses, pick some up for them. If you see a book in Barnes & Noble you know they’d be interested in, buy it while you’re there. Its easy, doesn’t have to be expensive and it shows that you think of them often.

15. Have Their Favorite Snacks at Your Apartment

This one works great if your significant other doesn’t live with you but is over all the time. Keep their favorite snack foods at your place, even if you don’t actually like or eat them yourself. Obviously, you don’t need to stock your whole pantry full of their faves, but if they’re a big fan of Pringles, keep their favorite flavor on deck. It’s sweet!

16. Acknowledge the Sweet Things They do for You Right Away

If you’re in a healthy relationship, your partner is doing stuff to make you happy all the time. Perhaps they’re even putting some of these tips to use. No matter what it is, even if it’s really small, you should be acknowledging it. Mention how great it was that they emptied your dishwasher and make sure they know you noticed it in the first place. Don’t make it seem like those sweet things are something you expect from them.

Knowing how to show your appreciation for your partner is knowing what will make them feel loved and cared for. Everyone feels appreciation differently so make sure you’re tailoring what you do to what they need. The bottom line is that you have to appreciate them being in your life.

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