If you're worried that he doesn't utter those three little words very often, relax. He may be expressing it every day without even opening his mouth. By Gena Kaufman, REDBOOK.
He touches you in ways that have nothing to do with sex
Saying "I love you" with words might be important to you, but not all love relies on speech. "Some men may express their love through physical touch," says Barbara Fredrickson, PhD and author of Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become. Sex is a part of that, but you can really feel his love through his more tender touches. "After a long day of work and taking care of the kids, I always feel loved when my husband rubs my back every night until I fall asleep," says Kelli S., 35, of Glenwood Springs, CO. His sweet affection might even come with he's not conscious. Jennifer G., 41, of Columbus, OH proudly declares, "My husband holds my hand while we sleep!"
Related: Date-Night Dresses Under $100
He puts your comfort first
It may come in ways so subtle you hardly notice, but a guy who makes efforts both big and small to take care of you is head over heels. "This is kind of silly, but we share a Sonicare toothbrush with two heads and after my husband brushes his teeth, he always switches it so my head is ready to go," says Londoner Darcy S., 32. "He also always buys the wine I want even though it's not his favorite." Other little acts of chivalry: Louisa D., 32 of New York City boasts of her guy, "He refuses to let me carry anything...ever. Sometimes I walk out of stores without my purchases if he's not there." "My hubby always lets me have the more comfy side of the couch," says Alicia M., 28, of Chicago.
He does his part at home
Life gets busy, but if your guy makes it a point to make sure neither of you are overwhelmed with work or chores, it's his way of telling you how important you are to him. "What matters most is that the two of you spend time in mutual enjoyment, so if he clears the deck for fun, that is yet another way to show love," says Fredrickson. "My husband has a really busy job, so I always feel appreciated when he helps out with mundane house-chores without being asked and comes home early from work so that he can have more time with the kids and me," says Kim O., 35, of Columbus, OH.
Related: 50 Simple Little Ways to Feel Sexy
He wants to have experiences together
Maybe your guy isn't particularly sentimental, but if he always wants to travel, see shows, or just plain hang out together, that's his way of saying he loves being with you. "Since love hinges on shared enjoyments, some men may express love by creating an experience he knows you will each enjoy," says Fredrickson. Emilie B., 30, of New York City has a husband who does just that: "He's always up for doing fun things together like taking weekend getaways or exploring somewhere new in our city," she says. "One of the best gifts he got me was a cooking class that we went to together. So fun!"
He helps you through the roughest patches
There's a reason wedding vows include "for better or for worse," right? A man who truly wants to be there when things are tough is telling you that he loves you no matter what. For Elizabeth M., 30 of Chicago, that message came through during difficult nights as a breastfeeding new mom, "I've heard so many women say that their husbands slept through the lonely, every-three-hours nursing sessions, but my husband was up with me every time, helping where he could and reading aloud to me to pass the time," she says. "It is a time I cherish, not only because of my new baby, but because I really and truly felt supported by my partner."
Related: The 13 Most Exciting Chocolates in America
He types it out
Maybe it's a macho thing, but sometimes guys seem to have trouble expressing their love aloud. However, given a pen and paper - or a keyboard, in this day and age - they can seriously soften up. "My husband and I have an email account set up for our baby, and we use it to write emails to her that she can read later," says Meredith W., 31, of Stanford, CT. "He always writes the sweetest, most lovely things to her about me - stuff he would never say to me. It's both wonderful and a little frustrating. Mostly wonderful." Fredrickson agrees that this is a non-"I love you" way of getting across the sentiment. "Men show love by expressing their appreciation for you," she says. "A thoughtful thank you is just as much an expression of love as is the traditional I-love-you phrase."
More from REDBOOK: