It sounds a bit cliché, but it’s the little things that make a marriage. Grand gestures have their time and place, sure, but it’s the small, sweet ones that mean the most: those just-because gestures that you do to show your wife that you don’t take her for granted or simply make the hectic world you both inhabit a little bit calmer. Because those are the ones that add up in the long run. Here, then, are 100 little things you can do for your wife. Some are simple; others take a bit more planning and self-reflection. All will make a big difference.
1. Put her morning coffee in a thermos.
2. Tell her “good morning”; tell her “good night.”
3. Hold her hand when walking down the street or whatever.
4. Write or draw something stupid on a Post-It note. Stick it to the fridge or the door or the bathroom mirror — wherever she’s likely to see it and laugh.
5. Buy her flowers on literally any day that isn’t Valentine’s Day/your anniversary/her birthday.
6. What was the thing she used to love to do before you had kids? Make plans to do that thing.
7. Don’t bother her when she’s reading.
8. Buy the good soap. You know the one.
9. Clean the windows. All of them.
10. Is it cold out? Warm her car up before work. Is it hot? Get that A/C going. She doesn’t drive to work? Buy her one of those mini fans or, if you think she’d use it, a hand fan.
11. Let her sleep in.
12. Make her lunch for her.
13. Go to the movie she really wants to see. If you don’t enjoy it, and she did, keep it to yourself.
14. Have in mind some favorite dresses or shirts or shoes that she wears and comment on them repeatedly until they’re special.
15. Tell her you love that way she laughs or sings or throws the football or talks shit about people on TV or makes you laugh.
16. Wash the towels and bath mat. Especially the bath mat.
17. Throw her robe in the dryer for a few minutes so it’s warm when she puts it on.
18. Buy some good lotion and rub her back or feet or whatever aches. Make it a whole thing, not a half-assed massage. Don’t be weird about it. And don’t expect a massage in return.
19. Wear an outfit she loves. Even if it’s the one with the collared shirt underneath the sweater that makes you look like the guy who always gets broken up with in movies.
20. Tell her you were thinking about her during the day. You don’t have to actually do it. Just say that you did.
21. Vacuum under the couch cushions. And the couch.
22. When you come home, say “There’s my beautiful bride!”
23. Fix that thing you know needs to be fixed.
24. Make her favorite dinner.
25. Clean the bathroom sink. It’s probably filthy.
26. Initiate contact. A hug, a hand on the lower back, a light squeeze of the rump if the moment is right. Doesn’t need to be a sexual thing, but it can.
27. Make sure her electronics are charged or charging.
29. Cultivate some habits so that you’re slightly predictable. People find this reassuring.
30. Remind her she doesn’t have to be everything to everyone.
31. Dress like an adult.
32. Turn the heat up higher than you want to because she’s probably cold.
33. Ask her how her day was. Have at least one good follow-up question so it at least sounds like you’re listening. Better yet, really listen.
34. Give her the aux cord in the car (or control of the headphones you’re sharing on the commute). So what, she’s just going to play early 2000s emo from her phone? You’ll live.
35. Even if you’ve stream-cheated and watched ahead on that Really Cool Show You’re Both Into, don’t tell her and just enjoy the re-watch.
36. Have other friends. Hang out with them sometimes.
37. Do that one chore they hate doing. Don’t make a big deal about the fact you did it.
38. Paste her toothbrush if you’re both getting ready around the same time.
40. Try — really try — to make her laugh.
42. Pick up her favorite Starbucks order just because. Even if it’s one of those five hyphenate, hyper-specific orders.
43. Talk with her daily about what’s going on in the world. She’s already heard the news, but she might need someone to vent fears and anger to.
44. Hug her for at least 30 seconds.
45. Randomly send her a .gif or selfie or funny photo of the kids eating.
46. Bring her a cup of water in the morning. Or before bed. Or just after sex. Don’t wait to be asked.
47. Sext her, but with emojis. Try: heart eyes, heart eyes, smiley face with tongue hanging out, kissy face, waving hand, peach, eggplant, blushing face.
48. Tell her she’s a great mother. Be specific. Try: “Watching you bathe the kids earlier made me realize what a wonderful mom you are.”
49. Give her a kiss as soon as you walk in the door. Or, if you work from home, head to her for a kiss when she enters.
50. Tell her she’s sexy. You are the one person she wants to hear this from.
51. Pick up the snack or cookie or ice cream she likes but never buys for herself. Even if it’s a tub of cheese balls. Even if it’s a Clark Bar, which are gross.
52. Come up with a dumb new pet name or nickname for them. Call her that nickname.
53. Read a book solely because you know she loved it. Talk to her about it when you’re done.
54. Let her talk shit about whoever or whatever she wants without judgment.
55. Next time she tells you a story she’s already told you a thousand times, just pretend like it’s the first time she’s told it.
56. Apologize for something stupid you’ve done. A real apology where you admit you’re wrong. Don’t do it for brownie points. Instead, do it to show you respect her enough to swallow your ego.
57. Gush about her in front of her friends.
58. Out of nowhere, tell a story about when you guys first met or when you first knew you liked her. Be specific.
59. Tell her a way that she’s grown in the past year that’s impressed you a lot. Maybe something she’s overcome or an old habit she’s shaken.
60. Bring her coffee in bed. Make it the way she likes. If she likes it stronger than you like it? Make it strong.
61. Kiss her when she wakes up before she brushes her teeth, even if you think it’s gross. Hell, especially if you think it’s gross.
62. Give up the good pillow.
63. While we’re at it, get rid of your old pillows.
64. Play with her hair.
65. Make up a stupid song. Answer her in a weird voice. Bust out a funky dance. Just be super silly.
66. Tell her you’re proud of her.
67. Go to bed when she does when you don’t want to. Hell, especially when you don’t want to.
68. Make more space in the closets. All of them.
69. Leave her a voicemail. A voicemail, not a text. Tell her you were thinking about her.
70. Admit something that scares you. Or tell her a moment where you felt happy/excited/sad for someone else during the day. Just be vulnerable.
71. Wear the right size clothing.
72. Keep your beard trimmed.
73. Wear the cologne she likes. Even if you’re not a cologne guy.
74. Sign her up for that class she’s always wanted to take.
75. Ask how one of her old friends is. Tell her she should give her a call and catch up. Encourage her to maintain her relationships.
76. Put your phone on do not disturb mode for the night.
77. Add a few small, sweet items on her Google calendar for the week ahead. Think: “Time to picture a sloth for five minutes. Aren’t they the best?” Or “Damn girl, I love you more than casting directors love Stanley Tucci.”
78. Change the oil in her car.
79. Draw her a bath. Leave.
80. Get a morning babysitter for a few hours and go out on a breakfast date.
81. Take the day’s first feeding.
82. Use the fabric softener.
83. Notice when she goes out of your way to do something nice for you. Don’t say, “Oh, you didn’t need to do that.” Say: “thank you.” Be appreciative.
84. Accept her help when she wants to cook with you. It’s probably not that she thinks you’re bad at it. It’s that she wants to do something with you.
85. Show up. To that work thing. To the drinks thing. To the thing at the friend’s house that she was looking forward to even though the husband there is a bit of a stiff and you know you’ll get bored talking about his new grill.
86. Let her have the last piece of bacon, the last french fry, or whatever final food is there that she wants.
87. Don’t say “fine” when she asks you how she looks. Tell her you love the color of her dress or what she did with her hair.
88. Cuddle with her on the couch.
89. Light a ridiculous amount of candles.
90. Throw out that ugly pair of shoes (or jeans or cargo shorts) you love but she hates. Toss the tattered undies, too.
91. Without being prompted, tag her in a photo of you guys or your kids if she’s into the social media thing.
92. Open up a nice, special-occasion bottle of wine for no reason.
93. Wear the shirt in your closet she likes the most.
94. Randomly pull out some old photos from when you were dating or newly married. Reminisce.
95. Frame a picture of her with the kids. Tell her why you love it.
96. Tell her how glad you are you married her.
97. Is she breastfeeding? Get up with her; keep her company.
98. Go to the fancy grocery store for dinner stuff. Make a fancy dinner.
99. Put something weird in her work bag. Could be chocolate. Could be a toy. Could be a drawing of an ocelot wearing sunglasses.
100. Just take the damn selfie.