In a word: appreciation. It sounds simple but its power is super-charged. The dual aspects of gratitude and recognition, both imbedded in the loving art of appreciation, are like sunshine and water to a plant.
As modern couples, we are at extreme risk for taking each other for granted. We juggle career, family, home management, extended families, aging parents, and health concerns. It's no wonder that our most intimate relationship gets lost in the day to day shuffle.
Fortunately, offering a little appreciation for your partner requires very little extra effort. Appreciation is something of a magic tool. In intentionally showing appreciation for your partner, you increase your own satisfaction with the relationship. Simultaneously, your mate will feel happier and more emotionally supported. Who knows, they may just start to intentionally appreciate you.
Try these six easy ways to integrate appreciation into your daily life:
1. Compliment: Before you get busy with your day, give a compliment. When you see your dear one in the morning, appreciate some aspect of their appearance. Tell them how pretty, handsome, graceful or strong they look. Compliment their outfit. Remember that they want to be attractive to you, so let them know that they are.
2. Text: During lunch, text a "thinking of you" message. Send an "ily" or "xxx" text as a quick, intimate way to convey to your beloved that they matter to you. They want to know that you think of them during the day.
3. Notice: Thank your mate for their contribution to the household. Notice what your loved one does to contribute to your life together. Do they work to provide income? Do they run errands and make dinner? Do they mow the lawn, do the laundry? Take an inventory of the big picture: things they actually do to improve your lives. This gratitude practice will brighten your day and your relationship.
4. Say: When you come home at night, tell your partner you're glad that you're in a committed partnership with them. Say to your dear one that you're happy to have them in your life. Let them know that you still choose them over all the other people you could choose. Tell them that they are special to you.
5. Thank: In the quiet of the evening, thank your mate for some specific, small task they did during the day. Perhaps it was the text during lunch, or maybe even just a listening ear, or a smile when you came into the room. Maybe it was a phone call to say he/she was running late for dinner. We often forget to say "thank you" for the little things.
6. See: Before you fall asleep, tell your mate you're glad they're alive. I've been working with grievers for more than 20 years and I can tell you that widows and widowers want one thing desperately: They want more time with their partner. One more day or one more hug would mean the world to them. See with the eyes of a griever and wake up to the fact that every moment is precious. Savor. Be grateful.
Let these six tips become daily habits and your mate will start to bloom like a flower in a well watered garden. We all benefit from being grateful and we all want to feel appreciated. So shower the gift of appreciation on your loved one and watch intimacy bloom.
For more by Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW, click here.
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