Life (especially life as a parent) can often leave us feeling undervalued or unappreciated. And when we’re feeling worn out, it may be hard for us to remember what we’re grateful for – what we appreciate about our life and the people we share it with.This drains our energy. One of the best ways to re-fill our tanks is by creating a “culture of appreciation”.
- Always thank your partner for the things s/he has done. Even if they’re part of his/her “job.” It’s still nice to know that they are noticed and appreciated.
- When asking your partner to do something, make it a real question (i.e. something they could say no to), not an order disguised as a question. (And say please!) Then thank them if they say yes.
- Five minute writing. Each of you takes a piece of paper and a pen. Spend five full minutes listing everything you love about your partner. Pour out all the appreciation you haven’t had time to share. Give your list to your partner to have and to hold.
- Exchanging appreciations: Sit facing each other. One person begins with “Something I appreciate about you is…” The other partner listens to that, lets it sink in, says thank you, and then shares something that they appreciate about the other.
- Post-its: leave notes around the house, listing what you love about each other or life in general.
- Write a thank you note, letting him/her know why you’re glad s/he is a part of your life.
Some ideas inspired by Hendricks’ Conscious Loving and Louden’s Couples’ Comfort Book)
Get more appreciation ideas from my handout on appreciation here
To see all my posts on relationship skills, click here.
Read more about appreciation on other blogs:
The Effects of Gratitude in Relationships on Mindfulness Muse: “Begin to actively pay attention to and notice the positive things that your partner does. Many of us have a natural tendency to only [notice] signs that our partners have done something wrong. It is much more beneficial… to “catch your partner doing something positive.””
Creating a Culture of Appreciation on the Gottman Institute’s blog: “Building a culture of appreciation, fondness, and admiration involves using the things you know about your partner to show that you care and want them to be happy. Positive thoughts invoke positive feelings, and the goal is to turn both into positive actions that help to heal and bring companionship back in your relationship.”
The power of appreciation on Psychology Today: “My friend told me that she and her spouse were doing wonderfully. She attributed [this] to the consistent appreciation that she and her partner express to one another. She told me that they often say “thank you” to each other for daily tasks—laughing while revealing that her husband had recently thanked her for putting a frozen pizza in the oven.”