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When you’ve been with your partner for a while it’s easy to start taking them for granted, and it can happen without you even realizing it. If you want to avoid that place where your partner feels undervalued and starts to resent you, you’ve got to be intentional about showing appreciation for your spouse every. single. day.
So, how do you do that? Well, it’s easier than you think and it only takes a bit of extra effort. Read on for a few simple ways to show appreciation to your partner and nurture your relationship.
Say Thank You; Even if It’s Expected
By now in your relationship, there are probably a lot of things your partner does for you that go unacknowledged. And it’s not because you don’t appreciate them, it’s just that they’ve become so ingrained in your day to day – you forget to verbalize it.
For us, it’s when Mike fills up my water after I’ve already gotten in bed, or when I bring Mike the coffee he left in the microwave.
And saying thank you shouldn’t only be for the special things. Say thank you when your partner does the dishes, takes out the garbage, or goes to the grocery store. We have a pretty standard system of Mike going to the grocery store because he has more flexibility in his schedule. But, I still make it a point to let him know that I appreciate him taking the time and effort to do so.
Think about the mundane things you each do for each other that you may have started to take for granted. Make it a point to say the words, to acknowledge their efforts and show appreciation for your spouse.
Give Them Your Undivided Attention
In today’s technology-driven world our attention spans have dwindled to mere seconds. The average American picks up their phone 80 times per day, and that stat is over a year old! With so many of us having “shiny object syndrome” it’s easy for that to spill into our relationships.
I’m personally guilty of this, and always working on giving Mike my undivided attention.
Staying engaged with your partner when you’re talking and maintaining eye contact is so important! The minute you pick up your phone or start talking to the cat it immediately breaks the connection and can give the impression that you don’t care about what they’re saying to you; or them.
Make a conscious effort to stay in the moment with your spouse and give them the time and attention they deserve. You don’t always have to do something for them to show your appreciation, sometimes just being present will convey that for you.
Don’t Forget the Little Things
Letting your partner know that you appreciate them doesn’t have to come in big gestures all the time. It might be as simple as picking up their favorite snack from the store, taking the car to the carwash, or doing a chore you know they hate.
Simon Sinek talks about leadership and compares it to love. He touts consistency as the driving force behind being successful at both of these.
“She didn’t fall in love with you because you remembered her birthday and bought her flowers on Valentine’s Day. She fell in love with you because when you went to the fridge to get yourself a drink, you got her one without even asking. She fell in love with you because when you had an amazing day at work, and she came home and she had a terrible day at work, you didn’t say “Yeah, yeah, yeah, but let me tell you about my day.” You sat and listened to her awful day, and you didn’t say a thing about your amazing day. This is why she fell in love with you.”
Simon goes on to talk about how it’s the consistency and accumulation of the little things that make someone fall in love with you. Even if those things on their own are meaningless. It stands to reason that those little things, the ones that made you fall in love in the first place, are the same things that will keep you in love.
Our point – don’t forget about the little things. If you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it here.
Support Their Passions
“Happy couples understand that helping each other realize their dreams is one of the goals of marriage.” – Dr. John Gottman
I absolutely love that quote. It truly sums up what a true partnership looks like and when done right it naturally lends itself to showing your appreciation. It tells your partner that you appreciate them for who they are, what they stand for, and what’s important to them.
Being a supportive partner is really the cornerstone of any marriage, otherwise, what’s the point of even being married, right? It’s all about doing this married life together. (See what we did there? – Ugh, we’re so lame)
Take Initiative When Your Partner is Stressed
We’ve touched on this when we talked about the lessons we’ve learned about marriage, but it’s worth repeating. Marriage will not always be 50/50. Depending on the season of your marriage, or even the day – one of you might have to put in more effort than the other.
When your partner is dealing with something stressful; work, family, or otherwise – that is the perfect time to step up and start putting in the extra work. What that looks like is going to be specific to your relationship, but it can be as simple as doing the chore they hate to leaving them alone for a day to sleep.
If you’re not sure exactly what your partner needs, ask them! Make sure they know you’ve got their back and are willing to see them through to the other side.
Write to Each Other
Whether you like to put pen to paper or prefer to communicate electronically, take the time to tell your partner how much they mean to you through the written word.
When you live with someone your interactions can easily be dominated by meaningless day to day conversations. But remember the beginning of your relationship when you wrote mushy messages in greeting cards, or when you talked all the time through text message?
For the last few holidays Mike and I have actually skipped cards (#welcometomarriage) but we were total suckers for sweet cards with handwritten notes where we gushed about each other and our relationship. We still have them all in a box actually.
Maybe you aren’t going to spend $4 on a card for every occasion, but you can still express your love and appreciation to them with a note. Try a text with a loving message, or a post-it note on the bathroom mirror. There’s something special about seeing the words written down that really help get the message across.
So, tell us – what’s the one thing your partner does for you to show appreciation that means the most to you? Let us know in the comments!