Often in the early stages of relationships we are full of appreciation for our partners. Telling our partners what we love about them feels easy and we want to share our adoration with them.
“You look amazing”, “you’re so generous” “you are always making me laugh, that’s what I love about you.”
However later in our relationships we can all be guilty of not telling our partners what we love about them, as often, if at all.
Appreciations are a simple step that can really improve your connection to your partner and your relationship.
When we think negatively about our partners actions or words we can often really focus and dwell on them. The problem with this is that we start to forget the things we really appreciate about our partner. Yes, the negative things need work but if we forget to balance this negative thinking with the positive aspects of our relationship it can be much harder to really feel connected or loving to each other.
Appreciations are simply telling your partner each day what you appreciate about them, this can be something big or small, it could be an act of kindness you received from them, a personality trait you love or an everyday chore that your partner does. “I really appreciate your kindness”, “I appreciate how you made sure the kids tea was sorted today”, “I love how you kiss me goodbye in the morning”, “I appreciate how you always make my coffee just how I like it”
When Talk to each other and agree a time each day when you have a few minutes together free of distractions to be able to share your appreciations. This could be when you wake up in the morning (before you get distracted by the latest news updates or WhatsApp group pings on your phone!) or just before bed at night when you can really reflect on your day.
Face each other and make sure you are free of distractions, simply pick an appreciation and tell your partner. Try to also tell your partner how that made you feel and why that’s important to you. Your partner’s job is to simply say back to you exactly what they have heard, this is called Mirroring and allows you to feel heard and understood. As your partner must remember what you said, keep it short and they can then check with you if they got what you said and ask if there is more. You “I really appreciate you taking the car to the garage for me today, it made me feel looked after.” Partner “I heard you say that you appreciate that I took your car to the garage for you, and it made you feel looked after” Partner “Did I get you?” You “Yes” Partner “Is there more?” You “Yes, it was such a relief to get that sorted and I felt that you really understood how busy I was at work to do that for me” Swap over Give each other a hug
The first time you do this it is likely to feel odd or awkward but as the days go on you will likely find yourself noticing things your partner does or things you appreciate about them so that you have something to share in your daily appreciation. This kind of focusing on positives can really improve your connection to your partner. Hearing how your partner appreciates and loves you can make you feel closer and more open to talk about the more difficult topics. Try this for a week and see how you found it. Appreciations are a part of Imago relationship therapy. Imago is all about restoring fun and love in your relationship as well as tackling the difficulties. If you are struggling in your relationship, see my Couples Therapy page for more information on how I work with couples and my contact details.