Without a doubt, letting your partner know that you understand them and validating their perspective are powerful ways to preserve your marriage during this COVID-19 virus crisis. This includes showing appreciation for one another by offering sincere and positive appreciation. My challenge to you is this: follow the action steps below and be sure to express appreciation to your partner twice a day.
In Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, Dr. John Gottman writes, “With a little effort and empathy, you can replace thoughtless complaints and criticism with thoughtful remarks.” While negativity is toxic to any relationship, it’s especially damaging to marriage because both partners bring baggage from other relationships.
However, personal growth and love are possible when you’re nonjudgmental and express tenderness through words, tone of voice, facial expressions, or actions. By focusing on what you think your partner most wants and deserves to hear from you in any given situation, you can offer thanks instead of criticism.
Appreciation can be defined as telling your partner what you like about him or her. In order to do this, you can simply ask yourself, “What do I like about my partner,” or “What are their finer qualities.” By focusing on these questions and telling your partner what you like about him or her, you are showing appreciation. In addition, when you go through tough times with your partner you can draw on this reserve of appreciation and it will help you be less defensive and blameful toward them.
The best way to show appreciation to your partner is to offer it in abundance and in front of others daily. The more you show appreciation, the better you will get at it and the more you’ll be helping your partner feel loved and valued. The following 3 action steps will help you show genuine appreciation to your partner and thus improve your feelings of love and tenderness.
My Appreciation Challenge is this: follow the three steps below each day for one month and reap the rewards of a more loving relationship.
3 Action Steps to show appreciation to your partner:
- Communicate to your partner what you appreciate about them twice a day. This might include their personality or actions. Even if you don’t agree with their viewpoint, praise them for their ability to deal with a challenge or new event in their life. Be sure that your appreciation specific and detailed. For example, you can say, “I love the way you started dinner without me asking. It really made me feel special and loved by you. Plus the pasta and sauce were tasty!”
- Show appreciation by doing acts of kindness for your mate. For instance, arrive home early sometimes, cook your partner a meal and set an attractive table with wine or a special beverage. If you don’t like to cook, invite your partner to get take-out and offer to do dishes afterwards.
- Practice listening and validating your partner’s feelings this week. Tune in to what they’re saying when they have a problem or come home feeling upset. Validate their feelings by saying something like “That must really feel bad …” and “I’m sorry you had to deal with that problem.” During this time of turmoil with the Corona Virus Pandemic, there are a lot of opportunities to listen and validate your partners feelings. These simple yet powerful actions are so much more supportive than offering advice!
The main objective of the three Action Steps above is to avoid negativity and to focus on those things that you love about your partner. We can not control the pandemic in the world but we can follow the recommendations of health experts, stay home when possible, practice social distance, and show appreciation for our partner. It’s time to emphasize the good and lift one another up every single day!
Twitter, Facebook, and, movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website. Her new book The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around was published by Sounds True on February 18, 2020.
I’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriage, and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks! Terry