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‘Giving Me a Massage,’ Tops List of Caring Behaviors

Couple watching sports
Watching the game together is not likely to score big in your relationship.

Giving a massage and going away for the weekend (together) topped the list; taking your spouse to a sporting event and buying an expensive present came in last.


A survey by PAIRS Foundation asked several thousand people what made them feel cared about and loved in their relationship with their spouse/significant other. While I know making regular deposits in my relationship “Love Bank,” is important to sustaining love, romance and intimacy, I found some of the results pretty surprising.

Couple watching sports
Watching the game together is not likely to score big in your relationship.

Generally, Money Won’t Buy You Love

Especially with the holiday shopping season around the corner, it was a relief to see very few people are wowed or turned-on by expensive gifts.

Only a few of the top 20 responses, such as going away for a weekend together, involve money. Most cost nothing more than time and, in some cases, thoughtfulness and creativity.

How do these top and bottom 20 responses compare to what makes you feel cared about by that special person in your life? And how much do you really know about what you can do to leave your significant other feeling special and important? You may be surprised by what you find out.

Scoring your own list and encouraging your loved one to do the exercise too with PAIRS Foundation’s free, online Love Bank App will give you a head start on a New Year’s resolution lots of us will make in a few weeks. The App, along with a couple dozen more evidence-based exercises from the industry leader in marriage and relationship education, may be the best marriage advice ever.

Top 20 Responses

  1. Giving me a massage
  2. Going away for the weekend together … $$$$
  3. Telling me you are proud of me
  4. Looking deeply into my eyes
  5. Thoughtfully celebrating my birthday … $$$
  6. Kissing me
  7. Celebrating our anniversary … $$$
  8. Writing me a love note
  9. Sending me a loving text message
  10. Expressing appreciation to me
  11. Speaking words of love
  12. Writing me a love letter
  13. Hugging/Embracing me
  14. Cuddling & snuggling
  15. Reassuring me of your commitment
  16. Giving me a thoughtful gift … $$
  17. Preparing a special meal for me
  18. Staying home together
  19. Doing a chore without being asked
  20. You initiating sex

Bottom 20 Responses

If your partner’s preferences are similar to others completing the survey, inviting him or her to a sporting event is not likely to add many coins to your relationship Love Bank; neither are expensive gifts, running errands, carrying packages, or romantic clothing (sorry Victoria’s Secret). Here are the bottom 20 responses, beginning with the lowest.

  1. Taking me to a sporting event … $$$
  2. Giving me an expensive gift … $$$$
  3. Running errands for me
  4. Carrying packages for me, etc.
  5. Giving me a romantic clothing … $
  6. Listening to music together
  7. Doing the household shopping
  8. Doing the dishes
  9. Opening a door for me
  10. Helping me with a project
  11. Giving me a card … $
  12. Taking me to a movie … $
  13. Giving me a surprise party … $$$
  14. Writing me a poem
  15. Asking me to go for a walk
  16. Using candlelight
  17. Celebrating Valentine’s Day … $$$
  18. Bathing me
  19. Taking me out to eat … $$$
  20. Taking a shower together


PAIRS Love Bank App: Score Your Own List