When we talk about marriage, we’re quick to talk about “love” (which is a good thing), but we rarely talk about the importance of “appreciation.” As I’ve talked with countless married couples online and in person, there seems to be an epidemic in marriages that stem from a lack of appreciation. When a spouse feels unappreciated, it often leads to resentment or possibly even divorce. Showing appreciation to your spouse is vital for a healthy marriage, and these four quick tips below will help you do it well.
Every individual is different, so your spouse may not connect with each of these gestures of appreciation, but these will hold true in most cases. As in all marriage-related issues, the best way to learn what your spouse needs and desires is to communicate with each other.
4 ways to show appreciation to your spouse (in no particular order):
1. Take the time to say, “THANK YOU” often.
Some recent research from relationship researcher Shaunti Feldhahn suggests that many people desire to hear the phrase, “Thank you” as much or more than they desire to hear the phrase, “I love you” from their spouse. Don’t take your spouse for granted. Let him/her know that you notice and you appreciate all they do. Don’t assume they know how you feel. Communicate your appreciation clearly and consistently.
2. Show consideration to your spouse in EVERY decision you make.
Every choice you make will have some level of impact on your spouse, so consider him/her in all your decisions. Whether it’s a financial decision or one relating to your schedule, let him/her know that you appreciate and respect his/her feelings, input and desires in every decision. This one of the most important ways to show thoughtfulness in marriage.
3. Show common courtesy.
Too often, we show politeness and respect to strangers and co-workers all day only to come home and show rudeness to the ones we love the most. Simple phrases of thoughtfulness like saying “Please,” “Would you like me to get you anything?,” “What would you like to do?” or perhaps the biggest one…saying “I’M SORRY” when you’ve been rude. Those little phrases can make a big difference!
4. Speak in a respectful TONE in your voice
Your words matter, but the tone in which you speak those words communicates even more than the words themselves. Make sure you’re speaking with a respectful, warm, engaging tone in your voice. There’s never a good excuse to be rude or disrespectful towards your spouse.
5. Make sure your ACTIONS match your words.
Thoughtfulness is about much more than lip service. Your words are important, but your actions clearly matter just as much (or perhaps even more). Make sure you actions are communicating your thoughtfulness as clearly as your words.
For more tools to help you build a rock-solid marriage, check out our book Marriage Minute: Quick & Simple Ways to Build a Divorce-Proof Relationship and our popular new online course focused on SEX and intimacy in marriage.
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