Do you appreciate your spouse or significant other? More importantly, do you express your appreciation in some fashion?
In previous posts I talk a lot about respecting your partner. I also discuss the fact that you’re responsible for your own happiness. You can’t wait for some external factor, or person, to make you happy. You have to choose to create happiness in your life.
In today’s post I want to take it a step further. Do you appreciate your spouse or significant other? Do you feel unappreciated by your spouse? Whether or not you feel appreciated by your spouse can greatly determine the level of happiness and intimacy that you share as a couple.
If you’re not feeling appreciated by your spouse then one of two things is happening.
One, your spouse isn’t showing you appreciation. (that sucks)
You are not showing appreciation to your spouse. (What?)
The best way to get something from your spouse is to lead by example. Maybe you’re both too busy lately with work and kids and don’t stop and take the time to appreciate each other. I mean really appreciate each other either through showing it or vocalizing it!
Tell your partner you appreciate him or her at least once a day everyday. Seriously, make a point once a day every single day…
Just say “I appreciate you so much for everything you do for our family, us, etc.” This simple statement alone can create a shift in your relationship. It may be a slight shift, but if you continue to do it at least once a day, it can really change the dynamics of your relationship with your spouse.
How do you show your appreciation to your spouse?
Do you feel like you do more and your spouse has it easy?
I hate it when my mind starts going to that bad little place. You know that crappy little “what have you done for me lately place?” This usually happens whenever you’re busy or stressed right? You start to make your mental check list of everything you’ve done that day or that week. Then you begin to compare it to you what you think your spouse has done, or worse, you start a mental check list of everything they haven’t done!
I say “think” because you really don’t know everything your spouse has done for you and your family. Unless you are together every waking moment, you really don’t know everything they do to contribute each day.
When I get into this crappy mind set, I stop and I assume. (only time I think it’s safe to assume)
I assume there are a handful of actions that my husband takes for our family that I am not around to witness.
We both work, but he works away from home. He isn’t around to see every little thing I do around the house. I also have to remind myself at times, that I don’t see every little thing he does away from the house to contribute to our life. Just think, for every little thing you do that your spouse doesn’t see, he or she is doing something to contribute to your family as well, that you don’t see.
I remind myself that just because I don’t see it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Don’t play the tit for tat game. If you play the tit for tat game, that’s when your relationship will enter troubled waters. That’s when it becomes a competition and not a partnership. That is when resentment builds.
Now I’m not talking to the guy or gal that actually takes more than they give. I’m talking to the mature adults in grown-up relationships who do try and contribute. Maybe there is just a little resentment as of late for whatever reason. Maybe someone changed jobs, or hours at work, so there need to be adjustments made at home. Perhaps you simply have gotten out of the habit of appreciating your spouse because you think he or she won’t go anywhere.
Not a good idea!
Bottom line, whatever the case may be, it’s so important to show your appreciation to your spouse or partner every single day.
So your partner is not showing his or her appreciation?
First thing I would ask myself, is “am I showing my appreciation to my partner?” After all, you can’t ask something of another person it you’re unable to provide it yourself. That’s would be selfish, right?
So, I ask, what are YOU doing to show your partner that you appreciate him or her? If you feel like there isn’t a lot of appreciation going both ways, then I suggest that you begin to lead by example. Make sure you stop and thank your spouse whenever you see him or her do anything nice or helpful! I don’t care what it is! You don’t even have to see them do something. Simply thank him or her for everything they do every day to contribute to the household. Just show or verbalize your appreciation.
Positive Reinforcement right? If you continue to show up to the relationship and show your appreciation, then your spouse should begin to do it back. Have you been doing it for a while and still no appreciation. It can take a while to change bad habits, and get into the routine of making a conscious effort to show your appreciation. You may need to give it a little more time, if this is not something you typically do.
If you tend to complain a lot and notice the bad stuff, then your spouse may be a little shocked at first and not know exactly what to do. If you have made a conscious effort to show your appreciation for at least 6 months and still nothing? You may be married to a taker.
Be positive. Pay attention to the good stuff they do, not just what he or she forgot to do. Sometimes what you think is important is simply not to your spouse. Yep. Just because you think it should be done today, doesn’t mean it should. Don’t be a dictator. Thank your spouse for what they have done, and don’t criticize or complain only about what he or she hasn’t done. There will always be stuff that needs to be done. Always. Focus on what did get done! You know the saying…pick your battles.
It’s so easy to take your spouse for granted. We get lazy after a while. We forget to pay attention to the little things our spouse does and we forget to simply say thank you! We come to expect it from our spouse.
So he forgot to take out the trash last week. Who cares. So he didn’t handle the children exactly how you wanted him to…so what. You are not the boss. Neither of you are. You are partners.
It’s so important to make sure that you show your appreciation. Find a way to show it, find something that your spouse did and thank him or her. Do this every single day. Seriously, do it every single day, and you will notice a positive shift in your relationship.
Get in the mindset that your spouse doesn’t owe you anything and you don’t owe your spouse anything. Your mind set should be “I love and appreciate my spouse and I want to make sure he or she knows that.” (Read Do You Fight Dirty for more about what your spouse owes you)
Show your appreciation. Whatever that looks like for you. I strongly urge you to read the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It’s super cheap. It’s a very short book and literally took me one morning to read. It also has a short quiz for you and your spouse so you can determine your love languages. You and your spouse should read it and find out what your love language is. That way you know exactly how to express your love and appreciation in their language. Seriously, a few hours of your time reading this book can seriously transform your entire relationship. It’s known to save marriages that were once thought doomed to fail. For the love of God just read it!
When we feel appreciated as humans we are happy. When we feel appreciated by our spouse, it makes us feel like we are contributing. It feels good when your spouse notices when you do things for the family. When you feel appreciated it just makes you want to do more.
Appreciation is also a form of love. When you show your appreciation you are also showing that you love your spouse. You love them enough to make sure they know how much you appreciate him or her.
Make A Choice. Choose to support and love your spouse. Choose to take care of your relationship. Choose to treat your relationship and your spouse with the same care and delicacy that you treat your child. Your relationship is just as important as the relationship you have with your child. If you don’t have children, start practicing now for if you do have children.
Acceptance Is a Form of Love
Also remember that part of appreciating your spouse is accepting your spouse for his or her faults. You will be able to appreciate your spouse more once you resign yourself to the fact that your spouse isn’t perfect. Guess what? Neither are you! We sometimes place higher expectations on our spouse than we do ourselves. It’s pretty crazy but we do. Just remember that your spouse isn’t perfect so pay attention to what your spouse does right.
Don’t criticize your spouse. Criticizing your spouse does so much damage to your relationship. Also, it’s not nice! Don’t be a jerk. Accept your spouse for their faults. Remember for every fault they have there is an upside.
I talked in a previous post about this. Remember for every negative trait you have there is a positive trait associated with it. (You can read more about this here). For example, a person who is organized and keeps a nice, clean home, is probably a little bit anal retentive. (Downside). Perhaps you’re a little disorganized, however you’re exciting to be with because you live in the moment. There is always a downside to a positive trait as well.
Say your spouse is extremely sensitive and therefore attentive to the needs of your family members. That is a great thing. Keep in mind that this will most likely mean that your spouse may seem a little too sensitive at times. Maybe things that bother your spouse don’t necessarily bother you. Anyone who can be that sensitive towards your needs, means that he or she is most likely going to be a bit more sensitive at times. Makes sense right? Instead of getting annoyed when you think they’re being too sensitive, make a choice to appreciate him or her for being a sensitive being. See the good that comes out of that and don’t focus on the bad. Focus on their ability to tenderly care for your children and other family members. Focus on the positive.
Do you and your spouse communicate?
I know you know this, but communication is key to every healthy relationship. Not just the fact of communicating alone, but also how you communicate. Take the time to simply talk to each other. Make time to talk and make sure you’re both on the same page about the events occurring in the life you share together. When you know what’s going on in the other person’s life you are better able to relate. Whether its work or the kids, if you both know what each other’s daily struggles are, then you are better able to understand each other’s mindset.
Don’t try and fix each other’s problems either by the way. Just listen to each other and sympathize. Simply asking, “Is there anything that I can do to help you today?” makes your partner feel like you care about their happiness. They may say no, there is nothing you can do, but thanks for listening. Just make it about supporting each other and listening and not about fixing each other’s problems.
Be present for each other. Appreciate your spouse’s time when they are present too. Simply being present is something you should be thankful to each other for. It’s a lot easier to hide and work late and not be there for each other.
Working late a lot lately? Guess what? You’re hiding. Stop hiding. Don’t be a wuss. You may think you’re being a wuss by talking about your feelings and using your feeling words. NO. You’re actually being a wuss by hiding out at work and avoiding your spouse. Nut up (if you’re the guy) and talk about it. I don’t know what the equivalent to nut up is for women, but if you’re the woman who is shopping your life away and not dealing with your feelings, then stop. Do the equivalent of nutting up. Don’t hide.
Example. When I had surgery, my husband basically did everything. He took over. I made a point to thank him repeatedly. I told him repeatedly how much I appreciated everything he did. He took care of the kids, the dogs, work, got kids ready in the morning, worked from home to take care of me, took me to the doctor, etc. So much more! Some people enter this with the mind set of “well of course he has to do these things! He’s my husband, who else is going to do it?”
Well, that’s stupid and frankly spoiled. Will it benefit him to do these things? Yes, it will benefit our children as well, but he doesn’t have to. He could hire someone. He could choose to do these things with disdain and complaints. He could be resentful that he has to take on so much more while I’m down and out. He didn’t. He loves me and therefore takes care of me. You bet I appreciate the shit out of him! I show him I appreciate him with hugs and physical affection because his love language is physical touch. I show him with words of gratitude and I make damn sure he knows that I appreciate everything he did so much and I think he is the world’s greatest husband and father.
Celebrate the kind things you do for each other. When you feel appreciated and celebrated it makes you want to do more.
Love is free.
Did you stop courting your wife? Did you stop getting excited when your husband makes a point to woo you?
Remember to keep doing after marriage the same nice stuff you did before marriage. It’s so silly that we stop doing the things that made our spouse fall in love with us to begin with! You want to stay in love, keep doing the things you did to fall in love! Don’t remember what you did? Sit down, go back to that place and write stuff down. Write it down. Write down one of the happiest times you had together. Write down what you did for him or her and vice versa. Remember a time when you made him or her so happy. What did you do? Keep doing that! Get on top of your game!
Just like happiness is a choice, you have to make a choice every day to show your spouse that you appreciate him or her. Not sure how to do this? Again, read The 5 Love Languages book. Find your love language, and find your spouse’s love language. Read it. Ask your spouse to read it. Make a choice to show your love for each other. Make a choice to appreciate each other. Do the work. Stop thinking about how you don’t have the time or energy and just do it already! I promise you will exert more energy fighting about dumb shit that does harm to your relationship than you will with simply showing your appreciation and loving each other. Oh and you actually end up happy and get results. Don’t be lazy! Get off your ass and love each other already. Enough is enough.
Are you hurt by each other?
Think you’re too hurt? Are you harboring too much resentment towards your partner that you don’t want to make the choice to love him or her and show your appreciation. That sucks. Listen, I promise if you make the choice to show up, and show your love and appreciation, your relationship can really change. Make a conscious effort to show your appreciation every single day. Just try it for even a few weeks. You won’t be sorry.
Are you single? Practice showing your appreciation to everyone around you. Practice showing your appreciation to your family members, your friends. Practice showing your appreciation so that when the love of your life shows up, you’re good at it. Practice showing your appreciation to the people you date. You will stand out. So many people don’t show their appreciation. So many people think they deserve what they get or they’re entitled to it simply for the fact that they’re in a relationship. It’s so dumb. Remember, nobody owes you anything.
You get what you give.
The woman or man who has learned how to show their appreciation and has learned the importance of doing so, will be appreciated. Appreciate and you will be appreciated right back. Not being appreciated still? Have you been showing you appreciation long and hard and still nothing? You may be with a taker. Be a giver and find another giver. Are you with a taker? Give him right back to the world! Buh bye!
Make a choice. Take action. Love is just like everything else in life. If you don’t take action, you will not see results.
Choose love. Don’t be a lazy spouse.
All you need is love. Practice showing your love. Practice makes perfect. Well, almost perfect anyhow.
Thanks for reading my rant today.
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