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7 Words of Affirmation to Make Your Partner Feel Loved

These phrases can help build love, trust, and intimacy, experts say.

A loving relationship is a beautiful thing—but it can also be a lot of hard work. That's because, for the most part, you get back what you put into your partnership. If you choose to invest your time, care, and attention, your relationship will likely grow and thrive. If, instead, you revert to putting things on autopilot, thinking little of your partner's needs, you may find that your love begins to wither on the vine. Sharing love affirmations is just one way to take a proactive approach to your partnership, and experts say that communicating this way can have a profound and lasting impact on your coupledom. Read on for the best words of affirmation to make your partner feel especially loved.

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Are Words of Affirmation a Love Language?

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Communication is essential in relationships, but countless couples miss the mark when it comes to expressing their feelings for one another. That's why Gary Chapman, PhD, famously introduced the concept of the five love languages, each of which describes a preferred style of showing or receiving love.

"Words of affirmation are one of the fundamental five love languages. In addition to words of affirmation, there are acts of service, physical touch, gifts, and quality time," explains Mark Verber, LPC, a relationship expert, counselor, and the owner of EPIC Counseling Solutions. "They may not be as flashy as gifts or romanticized as physical touch, but words of affirmation are no less important."

When partners have the same love language, this can make for a more intuitive and blissful union, Chapman suggests in his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. More often than not, your partner's love language will be different from your own love language. This means you'll need to learn their preferences and be mindful of demonstrating your affection in ways they can receive.

However, Brian Reiswig, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, notes that it's important not to reduce your partner's full scope of needs to their primary love language. "To say that words of affirmation are one person's love language implies that they aren't another's. Everyone needs to hear that they are seen, valued, and wanted," he emphasizes.

RELATED: 9 Affirmations to Always Stay Positive.

What Are the Benefits of Using Words of Affirmation?

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Words of affirmation can help create an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation in your relationship. When shared with sincerity, they can express heartfelt commitment, build up your partner's self-esteem, and help you strengthen your bond.

"Words of affirmation are verbal expressions of appreciation shared with a loved one. They demonstrate that someone is noticed, valued, and, most importantly, matters enough to acknowledge directly with words of gratitude. People generally like to be seen, heard, and honored for who they are and how they show up for their partners," says Verber.

The counselor adds that when you use words of affirmation, "what is rewarded will be repeated." He says that the more you acknowledge and celebrate a favorable behavior or quality in the person you love, the more likely it is to become a regular feature in the relationship.

Martha Tara Lee, DHS, MA, MA, a relationship counselor, clinical sexologist, and founder of Eros Coaching, says the benefits don't end there. "Words of affirmation can also serve as a powerful tool for resolving conflicts, promoting understanding, and fostering intimacy between partners," she notes.

RELATED: The Power of Positive Self-Talk: 4 Science-Backed Reasons Affirmations Work.

How Should You Introduce Words of Affirmation Into Your Relationship?

Introducing words of affirmation into your relationship can be a transformative experience—one that brings so much joy to your partnership, the experts say. Lee notes that there are a few key ways that you can prime yourself to incorporate them into your regular style of communication.

Start with reflection.

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You'll want to begin by spending a little time reflecting on yourself, your partner, and the partnership itself, Lee suggests. "Take time to reflect on your partner's qualities and actions that you genuinely appreciate and admire. This will help you identify meaningful words of affirmation to express," she says.

Accept your partner's words of affirmation.

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This style of communication is a two-way street, meaning you'll also need to "receive compliments graciously" and "learn to let them land," says Laura Doyle, a New York Times bestselling author, marriage coach, and host of the Empowered Wife Podcast. If you deflect your partner's kind words instead of accepting compliments, you'll miss an opportunity to build a more positive communication style.

"When your response to your partner complimenting you is to argue, "No, I don't look nice today," or "No, this meal I made wasn't great," you discourage future compliments. It's not until you decide to let yourself be happy that your partner will see an opportunity to compliment you," she says.

Be genuine and specific.

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Lee says that the key to finding the right love language words is to avoid speaking in platitudes, instead focusing on the qualities you sincerely admire in your partner.

"When offering words of affirmation, be sincere and specific in your compliments or expressions of love. Avoid generic or superficial statements and focus on what truly resonates with you," she advises.

Reiswig agrees that this is a powerful mode of communication. "An easy rule of thumb is the three S's," he explains. "Keep it simple, specific, and sincere. Instead of saying, 'You're such a nice person,' tell them, 'I love the way you make people feel seen.'"

"Vague affirmation has a vague impact," he continues. "Tell them when you see them overcome something hard, 'I know that moment had to be tough, I was amazed at how courageous you are.' And finally, let them know the impact they have on you: 'I'm so grateful for you and the way that you've always got my back.'"

Practice active listening.

A happy couple sitting on the living room floor and talking.
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Many people feel uncomfortable with the concept of words of affirmation because it feels unnatural to offer spontaneous praise. However, these moments don't have to occur in a vacuum—the experts suggest that words of affirmation are often most meaningful within the context of broader conversations.

For example, if your partner shares that they had a difficult day, you can affirm how they handled the challenges they faced. If you're arguing with your partner, you can pause and affirm something they're doing right or validate a fair point they've made.

The key to this style of communication is to practice active listening. "Pay attention to your partner's needs, emotions, and communication style. Use active listening techniques to understand their perspective and respond with empathy and validation," Lee says.

Create a safe space.

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Before you start opening up, it's important to lay the groundwork of mutual trust and emotional intimacy. If you sense that this is lacking, talking to a couple's therapist may help you get things on the right track.

"Establish an environment where both partners feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities. Encourage open communication and mutual respect in your interactions," says Lee.

Focus on intrinsic qualities, not extrinsic ones.

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Reiswig says that when you're coming up with words of affirmation for your partner, it pays to dig deep and think about which qualities are most central to who they are.

"We all hunger to know that the people in our life really value the person we are, not just the perks we bring. So make sure you express how much you value their personality and their character," he tells Best Life. "It feels wonderful to know all the details that your loved one finds attractive, but if our affirmation ends there, it will eventually feel objectifying. Let them know you love their sense of humor, the way they care about people, the way they make you feel safe, and the way they support and believe in you."

Consistency is key.

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Lee says that making words of affirmation a regular part of your communication routine can greatly enhance the relationship. "Incorporate them into daily conversations, special moments, or challenging situations to reinforce your love and appreciation for each other," she says.

Some couples may find that adding even more structure is beneficial. "You can also incorporate a daily check-in with your partner that includes a simple ritual of gratitude," suggests Verber.

Make it public.

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Once you've gotten comfortable sharing words of affirmation with your partner, Reiswig suggests making your feelings more publicly known.

"One of the most simple ways to supercharge the impact of your words of affirmation is to say them in front of other people," he says. "You can share them with others while your partner is nearby to hear, or you can affirm them directly so others hear you do it. In both cases, you'll leave them feeling honored and valued on a deep level."

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7 Love Affirmations to Strengthen Your Relationship

If you're on board with sharing words of affirmation but don't know where to begin, it can be helpful to start with a few affirmation examples. Though the experts all agree that it's important to think about your partner's specific qualities and strengths, these expert-approved suggestions may help get your creative juices flowing.

1. "I admire and appreciate how you prioritize our family's well-being."

Young family in city park; mother and father are pushing their son on his bike

Regardless of the shape of your family, acknowledging the work that your partner puts into it can be a powerful message. For couples with children, this can be especially meaningful due to the stresses and strains that parenting can put on a relationship.

Lee suggests using this particular phrase as a starting point, but you can always dig deeper to highlight your partner's greatest strengths within your family. For instance, try acknowledging their emotional generosity and patience, their willingness to compromise, or their dedication to providing for your family.

2. "Thank you for handling tough situations with grace and resilience."

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How your partner conducts themselves during difficult times says a lot about who they are. To that end, Lee says you should be sure to celebrate it when they handle those tough moments with grace and resilience.

Once again, getting specific and letting them know which good deeds caught your attention can maximize the impact of your words. For instance, telling them they did such a great job at staying calm during a crisis or getting back on their feet after a big life setback can make your partner feel especially seen.

3. "The way you listen attentively makes me feel truly understood."

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Practicing active listening is important in all relationships—regardless of your partner's primary love language. Lee says it's a good idea to also praise your partner when you notice them listening attentively.

This simple phrase can help you foster a communication style in which active listening is the norm. As an added bonus, telling your partner that you feel they understand you will help strengthen feelings of intimacy and connectedness.

4. "I have complete faith in your ability to overcome this challenge."

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Sometimes, in difficult moments, your partner simply needs to know that you believe in them. By giving them a verbal vote of confidence, you reinforce an atmosphere of trust.

Of course, if there's a specific situation your partner is trying to overcome, it's a great idea to acknowledge the ways you see them succeeding. This can help build their self confidence, and also their confidence in your support.

5. "I know this is difficult, but I have your back."

rear view of a young couple holding hands outdoors at sunset
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It can also be powerful to let your partner know that they don't have to face their challenges alone. Verber suggests that by acknowledging difficult moments and telling your partner that you have their back, you reinforce your bond and build trust, ultimately strengthening the relationship.

Similarly, it's a great idea to acknowledge when you notice that your partner has your back, too. Lee suggests saying something along these lines: "Your unwavering support during difficult times means everything to me."

6. "I'm glad that you shared that with me."

couple sitting on the floor talking
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If your partner opens up to you and shares something private, meaningful, or vulnerable, it's always a good idea to share your appreciation. Verber suggests this phrase, which validates your partner's willingness to speak candidly, and reinforces that your relationship is a safe space for any and all topics of conversation.

7. "Thank you."

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Finally, simply thanking your partner when they do something kind is perhaps the most essential affirmation you can give them. After all, you're likely presented with an opportunity to thank your partner for their good deeds multiple times each day.

The experts say you should try to be specific in your gratitude and let them know what you're thanking them for—even if that seems obvious to you. For instance, if your partner loads the dishwasher without being asked, try saying, "Thank you for doing the dishes—I really appreciate you taking the initiative," rather than just saying, "Thanks."

Ultimately, adding these types of phrases to your relationship should help it grow and flourish, the experts all agree. "Words of affirmation are like seeds planted in a garden," says Lee. "When nurtured and tended to with care, they grow into beautiful flowers of love and appreciation, adding color and vibrancy to the relationship."

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more