When was the last time you said that you appreciate your spouse?
I don’t mean things like saying “I love you.” You may be doing that all day, every day, or you may wait for special occasions to utter the L word. Lea Rose Emery, in writing for Bustle.com, says it depends. “I looked around into how often couples say the L word, and instead of being all over the map, there were definitely two major camps— people who say it all the time and people who hardly say it all. Neither is wrong, neither is right. But for the people that say it, they really, really say it.” However, saying “I love you” doesn’t necessarily mean “I appreciate you.”
Jeremy Nicholson, a psychologist who writes for Psychology Today, reveals that “Saying ‘I love you’ on a regular basis is not always indicative of relationship status. A better indicator is how the partners actually treat and care for each other. Without loving behaviors backing it up, saying ‘I love you’ is just an empty expression.” And that’s where appreciation comes in.
A study reported in Scientific American’s December 2009 article, “The Happy Couple: Secrets to a Long Marriage,” indicates that gratitude acts like a booster for romantic relationships, and the more often appreciation is expressed, the less likely the couple is apt to break up.
Okay, so I missed National Spouse Appreciation Day.
But how about deciding to make some changes that will let your partner know that not only do you love him (or her), but you appreciate her (or him), too? Here are 10 easy ways to make appreciation something you’ll do because you notice the gift you have in your spouse.
1. Thank your spouse.
Yes, maybe it’s their job to help with household chores. But don’t take their work for granted just because you also do household chores. Appreciate your spouse because they care enough to help you.
2. Express your thanks creatively.
When you tell your spouse “thank you,” after awhile it can lose its meaning. Think of more creative ways to say it, like: “I appreciate it when you…”, “I’m grateful for…”, “It means a lot to me when you…”, etc.
3. Even negative circumstances have positive aspects
When he calls and says, “Honey, I have to work late tonight” do you complain? Show your spouse some appreciation for the positive—he called! And then thank him for his hard work, too.
4. Say thank you for the small things, too
Your spouse doesn’t have to make your life easier by helping you around the house. It’s a choice (or should be). Saying thank you for the things he or she does all the time lets your spouse know that you notice even the small things.
5. Public praise is a great way to appreciate your spouse
Perhaps you say thank you at home, but neglect to make your appreciation known in public. (Or maybe you thank in public but ignore the effort at home!) Saying publicly that you are grateful to your spouse can have a huge impact on your relationship, both publicly and privately.
6. The big things need praise, too
When was the last time you thanked your spouse for being a great dad or mom? Or because they work for an awful boss and still come home in a great mood?
7. Appreciate your spouse for contributing to your success
Whether it’s work, education, parenting, spiritual growth, or work in the community, your husband or wife has impacted your success. Be sure to tell them that achieving your goals is partly their success, too.
8. Say thank you with a gift
Extravagance isn’t necessary. It really is the thought that counts, so flowers or a box of chocolates is a time-honored way to thank your spouse. A dinner date or a gift card to her favorite craft store work, too.
9. Jump the gun when they need help
Don’t wait for your spouse to ask you to do something for him or her. Anticipate the need and offer before they mention it. She could use some time away from the kids, and he could use a nap. Offer to let them do the things that they leave unsaid.
10. Date your spouse
Your spouse needs to know that not only do you love them, but you like them, too. Ask him or her out on a date, even if life seems too busy. Make dating your spouse a priority, and have a real conversation when you go out. Enjoy both dinner and discussion.
Do you have any special way to appreciate your spouse? Share them in the comments!