Three Ways to Show Love and Support in Times of Stress

Taking time to show how much someone matters to you is essential now.

Posted Mar 14, 2020

When you first fall in love, it seems like every waking moment is filled with thoughts of your beloved. You brainstorm ideas for winning his heart, pledging your love, or cementing the relationship. These first few months may leave us feeling as if we are addicted to the objects of our affection and some of us may even experience a physical craving for their company with a hunger surprisingly fierce. Early physical attraction is a powerful force!

Once this somewhat anxiety-provoking phase winds down and our love grows into a calmer, steadier relationship, we may no longer feel the need to get everything “right” or feel driven to find the perfect token of our devotion. We recognize that a relationship is not hanging in the balance of a single red rose, but in the balance of a life of shared respect, honor, and intimacy.

There’s never going to be “the perfect gift,” but there are acts of love that will highlight the perfection of your mutual love. Bearing in mind that seldom can a single gift given on a single day change the outcome of a relationship, I would suggest a trio of gifts that will support the flame of passion and the steady fire of enduring love that should be freely given on a consistent basis:

  1. A daily moment (or more) of your full attention and presence at some point every single day, if only to catch his eye and let your gaze communicate your love, or to listen to her share a joy or a challenge she faced that day, or to be fully present and “with” him, even if the television is on, or dinner preparations are underway, or you are lying in bed and rehashing or deconstructing your days.
  2. Although the new threat of viral transmission may challenge the desire to give a kiss, a hug, a caress or some other form of skin-to-skin, body-to-body contact, be sure that if it is safe to do so, offer this form of support at some point each day. Each day. Just like we all have a need for food, we also have a basic, innate need for human touch. When this need goes unmet, we suffer from something called “skin hunger.” While it typically affects those who live alone or have no one close by who can fill this need, when a romantic couple lives like roommates or ships that pass in the night under the same roof, we can also suffer the pangs from this hunger. And when we go too long without someone satisfying this hunger, it leads to negative emotional and physical consequences including depression, pain, and anxiety. Starving for affection isn’t just a metaphor, we all need physical touch to create that connection between emotional and physical well being. When medical advice or settings do not allow for this type of contact, rely on support and emotional touch to show how much you truly value the person that you love.
  3. Expressions of gratitude for this special person’s presence in your life – both to your beloved and, perhaps even more importantly, to yourself. Letting someone know how much they mean to you is a wonderful, joy generating gift; however, reminding yourself each day of how much someone special means to you can positively enhance the ways in which you routinely treat this person as well as deepen your devotion and appreciation for her. And when we feel cherished by another, we are likely to increase our level of gratitude for this person.

Now is not the time to seek out “big ticket” gifts that focus on external proof of your care for your partner. The landscape has changed now, and perhaps the ways in which we relate to the significant others in our lives will change, as well. Let’s focus on the gifts of attention, affection, and gratitude. Relationships in which these are regularly offered and appreciatively received are much more likely to withstand challenges and provide long-term satisfaction than those in which the financial cost of the gift is more important than the emotional investment in the gift.

Minimize the Pain of Physical Isolation with Emotional Connection

As we are all feeling isolated and dealing with anxiety or fear, having someone who steadies us, supports us, and appreciates who we are in our imperfection can be the healing force that keeps us moving forward. Extravagance can wait, but simple daily acknowledgements of devotion can offer longer lasting benefits and authentic joy.