In the early stages of a relationship, showing love was easy. Going on dates, talking for hours and showing physical affection were priorities. After a few years of marriage, however, it can become easy to take a relationship for granted. The pressures of careers, children, schooling, keeping up a house and participating in the community can make it difficult to maintain the romance.

But it's just as important — if not more — to show love to your spouse now as it was when you were dating. Here are seven suggestions for showing love to your spouse without saying a word.

1. Hug

When I'm feeling frazzled, nothing makes me feel better than a hug from my husband — assuming that he is not the reason I'm feeling frazzled to begin with. When that is the case, hugs are always an important part of making up. Hugs communicate physical and emotional love and support. They say, "We're in this together."

2. Kiss

Remember when kissing was all you wanted to do when you were dating? Fast forward a few years and it's easy for a couple to get through a day without remembering to kiss. Don't take this important part of your relationship for granted. Kiss when you meet, when you leave and whenever else you feel like it. There is nothing wrong with inspiring the occasional "Ew! Gross!" from your children.

3. Do your spouse's household chores

Washing dishes and cleaning toilets does not make me feel romantic. In fact, doing those necessary chores sometimes makes me feel downright grumpy. When my husband does the dishes voluntarily, feelings of love and gratitude well up inside me every time. It can even be a turn-on. If my husband understood how well it works that way, I bet he'd do the dishes more often.

4. Pick a movie or TV show your spouse enjoys

My husband and I often enjoy the same movies; but like many couples, I have a greater appreciation for romantic comedies, while he likes a good action flick. Try choosing something your spouse will enjoy — without complaining. Snuggle close with a blanket and bowl of popcorn, and everyone wins.

5. Take your spouse to his/her favorite restaurant

My husband loves seafood, but just the smell of fish makes me feel queasy. He knows it's a sacrifice when I suggest we dine at a seafood restaurant, and I do it to show him that I love him. On those occasions, he returns the favor by making sure that I get to finish the meal with a decadent dessert.

6. Breakfast in bed

This is an oldie but a goodie. Serving your spouse breakfast in bed is a great way to show your love for him or her. It's great for Mother's Day, Father's Day and birthdays; but this may be especially effective on a day when it isn't expected.

7. Surprise your spouse with a meaningful gift

"You don't bring me flowers. You don't sing me love songs." That song was a hit because most spouses know that feeling at some point in a marriage. If it has been a while since you surprised your spouse with flowers, make today the day. If your spouse doesn't care for flowers, choose a gift that will be more meaningful.

It's important to say "I love you" frequently in a relationship; but it means even more when you regularly back up those words with loving actions.

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