Oh, this sounds like a case of differing love languages! There's a popular book - I haven't read it yet - a lot of peeps here are really into it. It's all about the ways we express love and how we want love expressed to us. Or something like that. Anyway, for example, some people need "acts of kindness" or "words of affirmation" to know that their partner is making an effort and expressing love, while others need "physical touch" or some other choices I can't recall now. There are tests to see which you are... when a partner becomes aware of your predominant love language, they see a choice in how to relate. And I've read here that often these things are surprising to the person who feels they've done enough because they expressed it in their love language to you but never thought in a million years that you need it expressed a different way, so you feel it was inadequate.
Quiz here: http://www.afo.net/hftw-lovetest.asp