Successful marriages need to be nurtured. Most people like to feel appreciated, whether it is at home, work, with family, or with friends. Appreciation goes a long way in any relationship, especially in a marriage. Showing more appreciation to your spouse will make a stronger marriage.
Dr. John Gottman’s Magic Ratio
Studies show that it takes five positive interactions to offset one negative interaction. Dr, John Gottman, world renowned therapist and relationship researcher, calls it the “magic ratio”. This ratio is saying that for every one negative feeling or interaction between partners during conflict, there must be five positive feelings or interactions. Hmm, think about this for a moment, for every one negative interaction, a stable and happy marriage has five positives. Now think about the interactions you had with your spouse in the last few days. What were some of the negative interactions, what where the positive ones? Did you achieve the magic ratio? If you didn’t, are you close or do you notice the negative list was longer than the positive list? What can help? A great way is to show your spouse lots of appreciation in different ways.
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, trained in the Gottman Method of Couples Counseling, I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of couples and individuals in Florida. One of the biggest complaints I hear is… “He/She does not appreciate me.”. One of the effective strategies that I share in counseling is that taking your spouse for granted causes disconnection. It is important to pause the negative cycle of thoughts and find the positives in your spouse, in your marriage so you can have connection.
Eight Tips to Show Appreciation in Your Marriage
- Gratitude- Politeness and manners are important, no matter how many years you have been married. Saying please, thank you and your welcome is the first step to showing appreciation to your spouse.
- Priority- Life can get busy but don’t let it get in the way of your spouse feeling that they are important to you. Make time to connect. Don’t let your “to do” list get so long that your spouse feels lost in the shuffle, at the bottom of the pile. Find ways to show your spouse that your relationship is your #1.
- Compliments- When you acknowledge your spouse’s positive attributes with a genuine compliment, that is validating.
- Think about their needs/wants- Does your spouse need a break from taking care of the kids or a break from some of the household tasks? Does your spouse enjoy getting the “just because gift”?
- Public Acknowledgement-Tell others how wonderful your spouse is, when they are in the room. When you praise your spouse to friends, family and colleagues, your spouse will feel special and appreciated.
- Time together-Spend time together and have conversations that are more than “the business of the day”. Put down the electronics, disconnect from social media and connect with conversation. Truly listen to the stories your spouse wants to share. Ask curious questions and be supportive.
- Be available- Make sure your spouse knows that they can count on you. If they know that you are there for them with a supportive ear, willing to lend a hand to help with some of their responsibilities, they will feel appreciated and in turn happy.
- The last tip- Remind your spouse why you love them. Share all the reasons that make them and the love you share special to you.
If in your marriage one or both of you, feel taken for granted, then that person will likely feel unappreciated and resentful. This can be the beginning of going down the wrong path. Don’t let your marriage fall into that trap. You can help direct it down a path of positivity with more appreciation.
Couples who have more positive connections with each other usually have a happier marriage. So, use this list of ideas as a place to start. Keep in mind that if you look for ways you can show your spouse some appreciation, you will find them.
William Arthur Ward said one of my favorite quotes and I want to share it with you. He said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” I like this quote because it is a great visual for an important point.
If you are looking for additional ideas to show appreciation in your marriage, read my blog, “Marriage is About the Little Things”. It is an informative and entertaining blog sharing stories of how it is the little things that mean the most.
If you would like my assistance in transforming your marriage, contact me. I transform relationships, one relationship at a time and I am here to help.
Your Relationship Expert,