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Romantic Gestures

One of my favorite readers sent me an email the other day and asked, “Ryan, what are some romantic gestures I can use on my spouse to make sure that she feels loved by me?” What a fantastic question to ask!

Nothing screams “I love you” more than romantic gestures. Even something as simple as packing lunch for work or placing an arm around the shoulder can ignite a spark in your relationship.

With the help of the hundreds of romance books and movies I’ve watched, as well as my personal experiences, here are some of the most romantic gestures that’ll have your significant other falling for you all over again.

Romantic gestures for your guy!
Romantic gestures for your guy!

Romantic Gestures for Him

Here are some of the sweetest and most impactful gestures you can do for a man, whether it be your crush or your husband.

For Your Guy Crush—Romantic Gestures

Want him to know how you feel without flat-out saying you’re head over heels for him? Try out these gestures!

Shower Him With Compliments

Sometimes, the simplest gestures are the most important. Showering him with compliments will not only make him feel special but also loved and appreciated—emotions that not enough men have in their lives.

Here’s the thing: guys don’t get complimented as much as girls. According to a study published by professor Janie Rees-Miller, men receive 10% to 20% fewer compliments than women outside goal-oriented settings (i.e., work, school, etc.). And when they do, it’s usually for their performance rather than their looks and personality.

Men love to hear that they’re valuable, attractive, irreplaceable, and most importantly, that they’re loved. Some of my guy friends still recall a compliment they received in passing from a girl that one time in college—they keep words of love and support close to their hearts and never let go.

So, what are you waiting for? Approach your crush and compliment him! It could be something as simple as, “I love what you’ve done to your hair,” or something more straightforward: “You become a better version of yourself every time I see you.”

Related: Flirty texts for her

Take Him to Your Favorite Place

Everyone has a special place or two that they love visiting every so often, whether it’s a diner that reminds you of your parents or a secret hideout that overlooks hundreds of stars. Make these places even more memorable by taking your crush to see them. 

Tell him why that place is important to you so he realizes just how deep your love is for him. After all, you wouldn’t invite just anybody to a location that holds special meaning to you, would you?

If it’s an outdoorsy spot, take things a bit further by packing some of his favorite foods or items. If it’s an enclosed area, like a restaurant or museum, take it as an opportunity to impress him.

Share Your Food

In the book “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” by Dr. Gary Chapman, sharing food correlates with two love languages: receiving gifts and acts of service.

Sharing food is one of those simple gestures that leave a lasting impression on the recipient. It’s a form of affection, appreciation, and love.

According to a study published in the Frontiers in Psychology, offering food is an effective means of increasing positive interaction and interpersonal closeness among people. It signifies comfort, friendship, intimacy, and love.

Sharing or sending someone food at the right time will make a person feel cared for and appreciated. So the next time you’re out eating together, share some of your food with him. If you’re in a relationship or super close friends, you could even feed him right out of your fork.

Tag Him in Posts

On average, people spend at least two hours on social media. If you’re one of those people, take the time to tag your crush in wholesome, funny, or interesting posts you stumble upon while browsing.

By doing so, he’ll be reminded that you’re thinking of him even when he’s not around. And if he acknowledges your posts super fast, you could take that as an indication that he pays attention and might possibly even like you back!

Even if his feelings don’t go beyond friendship (yet), it’s always nice to make your crush smile through the posts you tag them in.

Related: Flirty texts for him

Write Him a Cute Note

Pass them notes during a meeting, class, or with friends. The note doesn’t need to be overly cutesy with big revelations of love. It could contain a corny joke to make him laugh (or groan), a quote that reminds you of him, or doodles you drew while bored.

If you’re feeling gutsy, write about how just the thought of him makes your heart skip a beat, or how special he makes you feel.

Be creative with the note and hand it over when he least expects it. Repeat the gesture every other day or week, and who knows, you might just get a note in return!

For Your Husband—Romantic Gestures

When you’re married, the tiniest of gestures could keep the spark alive. Here are some wonderful gestures your husband will love:

Give Him a Massage

Everyone loves a good massage. Put on some relaxing music, light a couple of scented candles, and pull out that extra-expensive lotion you keep for special occasions. Then, after dinner, pull him by the hand to the bedroom and give him the massage he deserves!

For him to experience maximum relaxation, teach yourself how to give a “proper” massage by watching professionals on YouTube or reading guides online. 

Make His Favorite Meal or Dessert

We’ve heard it hundreds of times before: a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

When was the last time you made his favorite meal or dessert? If it’s been more than a month, it’s time to sharpen that knife and get cooking!

For those who aren’t culinary talented or simply don’t have time to cook, grab something special while you’re out. While you’re at it, throw in his favorite dessert/snack, too! Food gifts speak volumes when it comes to love. 

Romance Him the Old-Fashioned Style

Instead of debating on what to eat, what to watch, or what to do with your husband on your day off, plan a date night from start to finish.

Think back on the activities you did when you first started dating and replicate them. Take him to a nice restaurant then go on a long walk by the beach. Plan a picnic and pack his favorite snacks. Go roller skating, sip on fountain sodas and milkshakes at Grill and Shakes, or take a leisurely stroll in Victorian-style courtyards and glasshouses—the options are endless!

Take charge of the entire day and romance him to your heart’s content.

Do Subtle Acts of Kindness

Grand gestures of love are nice and all, but subtle acts of kindness can make a much bigger impact on a relationship.

Do something nice for your husband that he might not notice or thank you for until later.

Place a glass of water to save him a trip to the kitchen before going to bed. Buy him something he’s about to run out of so he doesn’t have to go out and buy it himself. Do the dishes even if it’s his turn so he won’t miss the TV show he’s watching. Offer him the last bite of your dessert.

It’s these small acts of affection that reignite the sparks of a relationship and keep the flame burning. 

Send Him a Surprise at Work

Don’t let work get in the way of your romance! Send your husband an “anonymous” bouquet with a handwritten love letter. If traditional bouquets aren’t his thing, order a bouquet of treats that resemble flowers or a potted plant to help him relax from work-related stress.

Alternatively, you can send him a themed gift basket with a bunch of desserts like cookies, candies, brownies, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and more.

These gifts will surely brighten his day at work and let him know that he’s constantly on your mind even when you’re not together.

Just make sure the gifts you send aren’t too bold or risque as his colleagues may see the gift! The goal here is to make him blush out of adoration, not out of embarrassment.

Romantic gestures to use on her!
Romantic gestures to use on her!

Romantic Gestures for Her

When you care about someone, it’s natural to want to show them just how far your love goes. These gestures of romance fit perfectly for your girl crush or your wife.

For Your Girl Crush—Romantic Gestures

These gestures will show your crush you love her and want to be with her:

Surprise Her With Small Things She Likes

Gifts are a tried-and-true method of love. You don’t need anything expensive to express your romantic interest; something small and simple like her favorite drink (Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew) or her favorite dessert (Chocolate Poke Cake) goes a long way.

Get them exactly how she wants them, down to the sugar or ice content. This shows her that you’re paying attention to her and her needs.

Other small gift ideas include:

  • Merch of her favorite TV show/movie/anime/game
  • A heart-shaped plant
  • Chocolates
  • Link to Spotify playlist made specifically for her
  • Game or book she’s been eyeing for a while
  • Framed portrait
  • Sweet-scented candles

If you’re musically or artistically inclined, create something that reminds you of her and send it off as a gift. Attach a little post-it note to the gift so she knows who it’s from.

Make Her Laugh

We’ve established that the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But what about a woman?

Don’t get me wrong, women love food as much as the next person. But if you want to conquer her heart, you’ll first have to make her laugh.

Studies found that the more a man makes a woman laugh, the more likely the relationship will last. Humor shows that you have a sociable and agreeable personality, attractive traits that all women love. And besides, who wouldn’t want to be with a guy that makes them happy? 

Be Affectionate Without Being Over-the-Top

Affection is one of the biggest gestures of love. If her love language is physical touch, try these gestures:

  • Hug her with both arms and your whole body, and linger for a moment or two in the embrace
  • Place an arm around her shoulder and let her lean against you
  • Hold her hand
  • Give her a kiss hello and goodbye
  • Let her place her head on your lap and run your fingers through her hair
  • Rub her shoulder when she’s stressed
  • Maintain physical contact in group settings
  • Snuggle close to her while watching a movie
  • Kiss her in places other than her lips, like her cheeks, collarbone, forehead, shoulder, or the back of the hand
  • Brush her hair out of her or tuck a strand behind her ear

Before trying out the gestures above, be mindful of her consent. Use these actions only if you’re in an established relationship with her and she’s conveyed that such actions are welcome.

If she isn’t comfortable with physical touch or you aren’t in a relationship just yet, try these gestures instead:

  • Smile when she catches you staring
  • Actively listen and engage with what she says
  • Compliment her but don’t go too overboard
  • When her glass is empty, offer to fill it up or order her another
  • Say her name when you’re talking to her
  • Show that you’re delighted to see her every time you meet
  • Offer to hold her bag/purse/book/cup
  • Check out the show, movie, restaurant, or band she mentioned, and tell her what you thought of it
  • Ask her opinion on things and make it known that it matters to you (a lot)
  • Find a reasonable excuse (promotion, birthday, national event, etc.) to send her flowers

Be There for Her Whenever Possible

Sometimes, your presence is all that matters. You don’t have to constantly shower her with praise and gifts to let her know you love her (though it certainly won’t hurt if you do). Just being there for her whenever possible is enough to make a difference.

If you sense that she’s having a rough day at work or school, make her favorite meal or invite her out to a movie. If she’s stressed, offer to give her a massage or help her with her work. If she seems unhappy, try to make her laugh. Be attentive to her needs.

Pick Her Up At Work or School

If you have a car, offer to drive her home from work or school every so often.

Driving her home will make her feel safe and save her a couple of dollars using Uber or taking public transport back home.

While you’re on the road, tell her you’re driving through a fast food restaurant or something similar and ask her what she wants to eat. This way, she’ll return home with a full belly.

For Your Wife—Romantic Gestures

Make your wife feel valued and appreciated with these simple gestures:

Fix up Her Favorite Area of the House

Choose an area of the house she spends most of her time in and fix it up. It could be her workstation, her garden, the pool, or any other area she frequents.

Tidy it up, add a decorative accessory or two, hang up some lights, and do anything else that will make that place more comfortable. If she doesn’t have a “special” place in the house, jazz up something she uses a lot instead; a drawer, a cupboard, etc.

Give love to the area or item she uses every day.

Surprise Her With Gifts

You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to buy your wife a gift.

Order that one shirt she showed interest in online and place a delivery for the next day. Buy her a bouquet from the vendor you passed by on your way back home. Purchase the earrings she’s been eyeing for a while.

Pay attention to the things she says she wants and buy them for her within the week. This not only shows her that you’re attentive to her needs but also that you don’t need an excuse to make her happy. You just want to see her smile.

Compliment Her Daily

A simple, “I love what you’ve done with your hair,” goes a long way!

Compliments are a fool-proof way of boosting her self-esteem and livening up her mood for the day.

Women appreciate sincere and genuine compliments that are specific to them. So the next time you see her, tell her how gorgeous she looks, how amazing the food she made tastes, how intelligent she is, how caring, and so on. Make her feel like the queen of your world.

Pack Her Lunch For Work

Get up extra early and make her something special for work. Pack it in a lunchbox and top it off with a note to read during break. Though simple, going through the effort of making her food for work is a powerful way of expressing love and creating a connection. 

Encourage Her to Do Something She Likes

Always encourage your wife to pursue things that make her happy. Hearing words like “you’ll be amazing at it,” or, “you can do it” lets her know just how supportive you are of her.

You just might be that final push she needs to try out that new hobby she’s been eyeing for months.

If she’s taking up running, remind her to set out her running gear before bed so she can go out quickly. Better yet, go out running with her!

Is she trying out scrapbooking? Buy her scrapbooking materials and share some scrapbooking ideas.

The point is to show her that you’ll support her no matter what and that you’re more than willing to provide her with what she needs for her to be successful. You are her biggest fan and you always have her back.

Big Gestures They’ll Never Forget

—Romantic gestures to use!

Regardless of whether you’re wooing a man or a woman, these grand gestures will sweep them right off their feet.

  • Take them out to dinner in the fanciest place in town. 
  • Take a yacht or helicopter tour of your city.
  • Surprise them with a totally spotless apartment. 
  • Buy her a ticket to see her favorite musician or band.
  • Buy that ultra-expensive bag/accessory/shoes they’ve been eyeing for a while.
  • Book a full spa day for them, complete with manicure/pedicure, facial, massage, and hot tub.
  • Fill a jar with folded notes and title it “100 Reasons Why I Love You.”
  • If your partner is an animal lover, adopt a cat or dog for you both to take care of.
  • Make a fancy dinner at home from scratch. Use expensive ingredients and whip out that Gordon Ramsey cookbook.
  • Buy her a limited-edition collectible item.
  • Fulfill something from their bucket list.
  • Throw them a surprise party if the event calls for it.

Small Gestures to Ignite the Spark in the Relationship

—Romantic gestures to use!

Grand gestures aren’t what sustains a relationship—it’s the small gestures that do. Here are some cheap, effortless, and easy gestures that’ll further ignite a burning flame:

  • Share a secret nobody else knows to strengthen the level of trust between you.
  • Record a romantic “ASMR” message for them to listen to before bed.
  • Make a picture book of everything you’ve done together.
  • Help them with their daily chores.
  • Randomly tell them you love them. Look them in the eye, smile, and say “I love you” while they’re doing something insignificant like watching TV or drinking tea.
  • Try out some of their hobbies. Create an account in the game they love playing, listen to the music they’re into, or read the book series they’re losing sleep over.
  • Go on stage at the karaoke bar and dedicate a song to them.
  • Give your partner a nice foot massage when you’re both relaxing on the couch.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, folks; our comprehensive list of romantic gestures of all kinds! With this guide, you can take your relationship to the next level. No matter how simple or complex, your gesture of love will work as long as you put a lot of heart and thought into it.

Good luck!

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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