If all couples increased the amount of appreciation they showed each other, I would not have many relationship counselling clients!
It doesn’t matter how good your communication skills are, how practiced you are at speaking without yelling and regulating the tone of voice you use towards each other. If both people in a relationship do not feel really appreciated by the other, resentment is eventually going to build and you will not be happy.
Conversely, if you work really hard to make each other feel truly and deeply appreciated, bad moods, insensitive comments and disagreements will not have the same ‘punch’. You will be able to get through them easily because you have a lovely buffer of good feelings about each other and the relationship.
A great concept to consider when trying to show more appreciation to your partner, is Gary Chapman’s ‘Five Love Languages’.
His idea is that we each have a main way that we like to give and receive love. All of the styles are nice, but there is one that if you had to live without it, you would feel deprived. If you would like to know your main style, you could try this QUIZ.
If you want to drastically improve your relationship, without spending money on counselling, I encourage you to do at least one of the below every single day.
Say thank you a LOT!
I know that you are each doing your best, and neither really ‘deserves’ a thank you for doing what needs to be done to manage your lives. But saying thank you is polite, it’s free and it feels good! If you paid someone for a job, you would just expect them to do it right? But you would also say thank you.
Touch your partner as much as you can.
Whenever you cross paths as you go about your day, stroke their back, give them a friendly little pat. When you are next to them, place a hand on them. When you leave or come back- hug them! I know some people are less ‘touchy-feely’, so work with what you and your partner is comfortable with, but try to increase the frequency of touch throughout your days.
Show them you are thinking of them when you are apart.
This is called ‘object permanence’ and in adult relationships, it is the safe and secure feeling of knowing and trusting that you are in your partner’s mind and heart, even when you are not together. You can do this through texts, sending a photo of something you saw that you thought they would like, grabbing their favourite thing when you’re at the shop, sending them a song you heard etc.
A way to show your partner that you really appreciate them is to plan something ahead of time. This could be anything; date nights, activities, planning some childcare, purchasing a book online that you know they would love, holidays, getting ready to go to bed early to spend time together. It is about showing that you have put in effort ahead of time.
Do little things for each other.
Really happy couples in long term relationships keep up those cute little things that most couples do naturally early on. Leaving little notes, wearing something nice, making something for each other, bringing each other things like a cuppa, doing tasks like putting petrol in the car or washing the other’s car.