I don't consider myself a marriage expert. I've been with my husband for almost five years, hardly long enough to drop the "newly wed" title. But in that time, we've learned a lot about what love does and doesn't mean. Between our respective jobs, two children, and other life-stuff, it's easy to put marriage on the back burner, knowing that you spouse will always be there. But we've also learned that that's no way to treat a marriage. Even in the midst of life's ups and downs, there are several signs your spouse loves you and always has that should be apparent in a marriage, no matter how long (or not-so-long) you've been together.
These signs aren't monumental or life-altering. In fact, they're somewhat mundane. Like most aspects of marriage, it's not the huge gestures that make lasting change, it's the small, everyday sacrifices, talks, and decisions that bring you closer together, strengthening your relationship one kiss, fight, or compromise at a time.
Whether you've been married for a decade or a week, these small signs that your spouse loves you can help encourage you during the hard times, point out where your relationship may need some work, or reaffirm what you already knew — that love isn't easy, but it's worth it.
1They'll Do Anything For You
Sacrifice is one of the surest signs that your partner truly loves you. Anyone who tells you that sacrifice isn't necessary in marriage, has either never been married, or won't be for very long. If your spouse puts your needs (or even wants) before their own, even if it's something as simple as rearranging their schedule to better fit yours or helping out more around the house, making your life a little easier should be a priority.
2They're Still Affectionate After All This Time
According to Marriage Builders, affection is learned, and doesn't necessarily come naturally to everyone. Though affection was probably a big part of your relationship in the beginning, sometimes over the years it's easy to let it slide. If physical affection is important to you, your partner will find a way to make sure you know how much they love you.
3They Apologize After Fightd
According to Focus on the Family, conflict is nothing to avoid or be afraid of in marriage. It's inevitable. But a sure sign that your spouse loves you despite the occasional spat is their willingness to apologize for their part in the disagreement. Apologizing first is even better, and according to Hitched Mag, doesn't make them seem weak or inferior, but more respecting and humble.
4They're Ok With Compromising
As unpopular of a statement as it is, marriage takes compromise, or at least cooperation. Two people pushing their own separate agendas simply can't coincide. If your partner is willing to compromise — meaning both sides makes adjustments, not just one of you, then they're in it for the long haul.
5They Don't See Date Nights As An Obligation
Regardless of how long you've been together or the state of your to-do list, making time to spend together is crucial. If your spouse willingly, or even excitedly, plans date nights with you — even if they're just at home after the kids go to bed — they truly value spending quality time with you.
6They Feel Appreciated And Make Sure You Do Too
Both men and women have a need to feel appreciated, according to M. Gary Neuman's New York Times bestselling book Connect To Love: The Keys to Transforming Your Relationship. In an article for Glamour, Neuman explains that appreciation is "a simple gesture that says what you do or have done is good and I'm thankful that you are doing it" and that it can make all the difference in a relationship.
7They Keep The Past In The Past
No matter what issues you've had in the past (and every couple has had them), a spouse who truly loves you won't bring up past mistakes in an attempt to shame or hurt you. Learning from your mistakes is one thing, but using them as ammo during a fight is something completely different.
8They Make You A Top Priority
Another sign your spouse is crazy about you is where you fall on their priority list. Sure, after years of being together, it's all too easy to be taken for granted, but if they're still canceling plans for you and making sure to include you in their's, you can be sure that you're on the top of their priority list.
9They Love (Or At Least Tolerate) Your Family
No matter how great or not-so-great your respective families are, putting up with them (or even liking them) is a huge sign that they love you. Especially if your family is particularly hard to deal with.
10They Care About The Little Details Of Your Day
When you're together at the end of the day, does your partner ask about your day? Do they listen when you talk about your stressful commute or explain that you cleaned up the same mess 87 times? Then you probably have a gem of a spouse.
11They Make You Feel Sexy
Though it's obviously not the only requirement, making you feel sexy and wanted is a sure sign that they love you, no matter how much your bodies have changed over the years.
12They Make Eye Contact With You
And not just during sex. According to an article in Redbook, eye contact is one of the most important non-verbal ques there is. It gives signs of intimacy, connection, and attentiveness, all of which are key to a loving marriage.
13They Don't Push You To Change
Putting pressure on someone to change is never a good sign. If your partner loves you, they'll accept you for who you are. That doesn't mean that they'll never ask you to stop doing something or change a behavior, but there's a difference between healthy change and unhealthy pressure.