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Appreciation in relationships

Do we have appreciation in relationships or do we take each other for granted, especially when the honeymoon period is over and we’ve been together for a while, or with our family and friends? Often we don’t even notice the slip into lack of care and appreciation for each other until something happens to wake us up – arguments, frustration, resentment, affairs – and then we dwell on what is not working in the relationship.

Or it might not be so obvious: perhaps a feeling of slight boredom or that life is just a tad ‘hum drum’, a bit repetitive, no big problems or issues, but the shine has gone off a relationship.

So when was the last time you stopped to feel, and express how much you appreciate your partner or loved ones? Really using appreciation in relationships to truly express just how amazing and great they are and all that you love about them?

Appreciation is one of the keys to building healthy relationships and the good news is that it is never too late to appreciate each other. Appreciation can help bring out the greatness and potential of any relationship and re-ignite the love that is there.

Appreciation in Relationships: Tips to Try with your Partner and Loved Ones

  • Giving others eye contact and paying full attention when they are talking shows your appreciation.
  • Saying thank you for the little things is important. For example when you are brought a cup of tea – stop, make eye contact and say thank you, don’t take it for granted.
  • Appreciate what you both contribute in the relationship and share this with each other regularly.
  • Let others know you notice the every-day things and don’t take something for granted because they have done it every day for the last year (especially the chores). “I really appreciate you taking the rubbish out every week.” “Darling I love how you make the bed, it feels so special when I get in it at night.”
  • Why not express what you love about your partner, family and friends – their unique qualities.
  • Notice others afresh daily – “I love how that dress/top brings out the colour of your eyes.”
  • Really, really appreciate and express your love for each other. Healthy relationships are ever evolving and developing and you can never hit the ceiling when it comes to love.
  • Be playful, laugh and have fun expressing with each other.

A while back, my husband and I were talking about developing our relationship deeper. A wise friend suggested we might try appreciating each other more, so a few days later my husband and I sat down with each other. My husband went first and spoke freely about just how amazing I was and how much he loved me. Tears came to my eyes and I could feel my body tingling all over, especially around my heart. And then I expressed my appreciation of him. Once we got talking you couldn’t stop us.

It was like we had fallen in love all over again, with each other but also with ourselves.

Sometimes it takes an exercise like this to remind us just how great we are. And you may also realize that not only were you not appreciating your partner, but you were also not appreciating yourself.

We live in a world where it is almost frowned upon to appreciate and love ourselves, to feel that we are great. We are shot down, and told we are too big for our boots: “Who do you think you are?” And so we play down our greatness, we don’t want to stick out, and then we lose confidence and trust in ourselves rather than celebrating our unique qualities and what we have to offer. So is it any wonder that this lack of self-appreciation then flows into our relationships with others?

And in relationships we often focus on each other’s faults and mistakes rather than the unique qualities we all bring.

I’ve noticed how appreciating my husband makes a big difference in our relationship. I work long hours and when I get home late there is always a beautiful meal on the table. I often used to sit down and tuck in without stopping to make some time to be with him first: to simply connect and ask how his day had been and express how wonderful it was to arrive home to him and this amazing meal. I was taking him for granted and he could feel that. Now we appreciate just how blessed we are to be with each other.

When we appreciate each other, we connect to our loving selves and we expand and grow. We evolve in our relationships, and we take more responsibility for the way we are with others. We want to share and not hide parts of ourselves, to let the other see just how much we can shine, and it feels great!

So a by-product of appreciating others is you start to appreciate yourself more too, and that is another step towards loving yourself and your ability to not hold back but share that love in your relationships.

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Rah-rah yourself in relationships

Why hold yourself back in relationships when you can share how great you are and have fun!

So whether you have relationship problems, are taking each other for granted, are just coasting in your relationships or want to take your relationships to a whole new level, taking the time for expressing appreciation in relationships can make a big difference in building healthy relationships. It can bring you back to the essence of why you are with each other in the first place ... and that is love.

Filed under

AppreciationLoveCommunicationCouples therapySelf-expressionRelationship problems

  • Thumb small alison carter

    By Alison Carter, BA(Hons), Practitioner of Universal Medicine Therapies, EPA Accredited

  • Thumb small alan johnston

    Photography: Alan Johnston, Photographer

    I have studied Social Documentary Photography. Lots of life experience throughout which I have kept a keen sense of humour.