I don't know about you, but as a stay at home dad, I am constantly tired. I think every parent can understand, because the task of raising children on top of making a living and having a life can take every ounce of your energy.

As a consequence, other areas in your life may be compromised, including your time with your spouse. Maybe it's too much to expect parents to be fully attentive partners and that the relationship between a husband and wife will suffer, especially when it involves sex and sleep.

Then again, maybe not. I fully acknowledge that having a fiery, passionate relationship while raising children is not appropriate, or for that matter, even possible, but being a loving spouse involves much more than that. It's really about being partners on a team where love and respect hold the family together. Beyond the practical necessities, being a good spouse means continually letting each other know that you're there for them, and that you love them.

Anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasions like Valentine's Day are good times to relay these important messages, but why limit it to three for four days out of the year? What about the other 350+ days?

The reality is, it requires some thoughtfulness but only a minimal amount of effort, and the positive effect can be profound. Here are 12 simple ways that help you to accomplish this.

1. Say those three words.

Three simple words is all it takes, throughout the day, in person or on the phone. You can abbreviate it to "Love you," and still get the positive effects.

2. Hold hands.

In a crowd or alone, taking hold of your spouses hand will always make time together more enjoyable and tells the world you're proud and happy to be in love.

3. Kiss often.

Preferably on the lips. All it takes is a quick peck, in the morning and before bed, but also when greeting and saying goodbye, and whenever you feel like it.

4. Listen attentively.

Spouses need to be heard, so take the time and give them your attention, keeping in mind that they are not necessarily seeking out advice.

5. Share something.

Offer your spouse a bite of your dessert or share a beverage or sandwich.

6. Ask simple questions.

Ask your spouse how they slept, how their day was, or if they're enjoying their meal. It shows you care and sets the tone for good conversation.

7. Give a little squeeze.

A strategically placed gentle squeeze to accompany a hug or kiss can be fun while not being overly provocative, though there is a time and place for that.

8. Send random texts or Tweets.

Sending a quick note is fast and easy, and lets your spouse know they're on your mind, which is always appreciated.

9. Hug like you mean it.

Perfunctory hugs are fine for acquaintances, but hug your spouse like you mean it. If it arouses feelings in you, then you know you're onto something.

10. Do something thoughtful and unexpected.

It can be as simple as warming their side of the bed or peeling them an orange. The key is to be thoughtful.

11. Sign off properly.

Signing off on emails or texts with a note of affection (i.e., Love you!) is a great way to make an mundane exchange special.

12. Do chores.

Helping with the chores is always a wonderful surprise for your spouse and helps the house run more smoothly and probably more affectionately.

In the end, every couple is different, and people want different things out of their relationship. Doing small things throughout the year is not a substitute for celebrating the big events like Valentine's Day, but it is without question the little things that help build strong relationships and bring spouses closer together. Plus, they're quick, simple, and usually cost nothing.

From all of us at Parenting Squad, we hope that you have a wonderful and happy Valentine's Day... every day.