Life is busy, and it can be easy to take your partner for granted. Before you know it, you’ve been together for years, but something seems to be missing. That something is appreciation, and showing your loved ones you appreciate them is one of the best ways to ensure you keep that connection alive.

Here are some ways you can show the guy in your life you care:

Let him talk

Sometimes, guys tend to ramble on about the weirdest things like the new coffee machine at work. When you want to mentally tune out, remember that guys find basic conversation emotionally meaningful. The conversation doesn’t necessarily need to be deep or important, but talking about random things like sports, politics, or work, can help him feel the same kind of connection that you feel when he actually talks about his emotions.

Man and Woman Sitting on a Bench

Be thoughtful

Small acts of thoughtfulness show that you’re tuned into your partner’s needs- whether that means purchasing his favorite type of chips or surprising him with a nice pair of mens slippers. Little things can have surprising consequences, and showing your guy that you’re constantly thinking about him is a great way to keep that spark alive.

Let him dream

We all have dreams, and when your guy is sharing them with you the worst thing you can do is shoot them down. Sure, he may want to go bush for a few months or hike the Appalachian Trail, but there’s no need to mention that you don’t really want to be a single parent for that time until it’s actually going to happen. Sure, his dream may be unrealistic or impractical, but you can choose whether to be supportive and connected or to rain on his parade.

Unfortunately, if you’re not being supportive, he’ll turn to other people for the validation he needs- like his friends, family, and coworkers. Before you know it, he doesn’t need to share his dreams with you, and then you have a problem.

Admire him

Men like to be the providers, and even if you earn more, his self-esteem is directly related to how well he’s a ‘real man’. This includes everything from his parenting skills, ability in bed, and performance at work. Many guys are just little boys at heart, and still trying to get their mom’s approval. Focus on that he associates with being ‘masculine’ and you’ll be rewarded with more of the same activities.