This is an older article I wrote a number of years ago. I thought it would an appropriate piece to resurrect for Valentine’s Day, especially in light of its message to show your sweetie through actions how much you care… Enjoy.
This piece of advice for couples falls solidly in the “Actions Speak Louder than Words” category.
When I work with couples, I often need to remind everyone that human relationships are based on feelings. Yes, we may have initially been attracted to someone based on looks, charm, confidence, or other attributes, but what keeps us connected to that person is how they make us feel. And those feelings are shaped based on the way that we are treated. Actions. When it comes to feelings, words often prove to be empty and hollow.
Sure it feels good to have someone say something flattering, but it won’t be sustained if that person’s actions are incongruent with their words. For example, if someone praises us for our intelligence but then acts in a condescending manner, those words are not only meaningless, but make the person seem untrustworthy. If someone praises our looks but then ignores us on a date, that person seems to be nothing but a fraud and liar.
So, with that in mind, I often tell my couples if you want to make the other person feel good, you have to “Show, not Tell.” Let’s take a look at how this can be applied immediately within the relationship. If one partner is feeling neglected or low on the other person’s list of priorities, instead of telling the hurt partner how important he or she is (which often will only come out looking insincere), why not plan out a day simply focused on the two of you? The act of planning out an activity focused solely on the relationship will do far more than all of the protestations in the world. Similarly, if you want to make your partner feel special, do something special, like cook them their favorite meal or plan out a secluded picnic, or initiate a sensual massage– something– but the important thing is that actions provide the proof while words are just decoration.
Remember, to feel connected as a couple, you need to connect on the level of feelings. And those feelings may get a small positive bump from some nice words but only actions provide the soil and the water for the flowering of those emotions. When you are feeling disconnected as a couple and you want to rebuild those feelings of intimacy, you need concrete action. Remember, to keep your relationship strong and flourishing, you need to show, not tell.