One of my personal favorite recommendations to give couples experiencing emotional distance in the relationship is the simple act of appreciation. Often couples that seek counseling enter with the notions, “we are not communicating” or “we don’t know how to communicate with each other”. A great place to start is with the simple act of appreciation.
Consider what appreciation really means.
Appreciation is best seen when one discloses to the other what they value about them. Appreciation is also the act of telling someone that they are valued, needed, wanted, and loved.
“I really appreciate how caring you are”.
What tends to happen as the relationship progresses is that partners tell each other less and less what they appreciate.
Why does this happen?
There are so many reasons to target. It could be due to comfort. You may have grown comfortable with your spouse or significant other that you no longer feel the need to communicate your appreciation. You may feel that your spouse understands you. That your spouse should be aware of how you feel towards them.
Many couples stop appreciating each other because of an obstacle that they never healed from. Maybe an affair or an act of mistrust. The experience caused you or your partner to feel angry, frustrated and emotionally distant from the other person. The two of you did not call it quits. Yet, you continued to grow further and further apart as a result of the event. As your emotional distance continued to grow so did the lack of appreciation.
Their truly are an abundant amount of reasons for why you or your partner are not showing each other appreciation.
I think, the most important question is:
“Do you want the relationship to work?”
I want to show you a step by step platform that can reconnect your relationship
You and your partner are going to need to schedule time frames that are distraction free and committed to each other. The time frames you pick should be mutual and again, distraction free. If you have kids, please make it a priority to find a location that you are focused on each other. During this step you are also going to decide on how many things you will appreciate about your partner. Yes, there has to be a limit. My personal recommendation, is to stick to 5.
At this point you should have your day and time scheduled for the date. During the date you and your significant other are going to take turns telling each other one thing you appreciate from the other person. The thing that you tell your partner should be something that impacts the relationship.
Once you disclose to your partner what you appreciate about them, you are going to go into detail. Build a meaningful emotional connection with your partner by disclosing a detailed example of the thing you appreciate.
Enjoy the process.
- Make it a priority that each day you and your partner commit time to this activity. You honestly do not have to identify 5 things you appreciate about each other. You can simply stick to 1 thing per day moving forward. The important factor to remember is that you are working to create a meaningful experience while showing your significant other that they are valued, needed, wanted, and loved.
- After you have completed the 4 step sequence discussed in the article, you are free to create creative ways to show your significant other appreciation. Some include emails, text messages or even hand written letters.
- Take the appreciation program to the next level by asking your significant other what you can do to enhance the things they appreciate about you. For instance, if your partner appreciates that you are a very caring person. Ask what you can do to continue to be caring. Look for detailed examples that paint a clear picture to follow. Your partner may disclose that they enjoy your caring act when you bring them breakfast in the morning or clean the car out on the weekends.
Fun fact about me: “I love to work in a simple and clear manner”.
To enhance the content in the article I am going to walk side by side with you using a case study that you can pull education from.
“I appreciate that you always try to find the best in others. For instance, when we are talking about peers who are struggling or not doing well, you always find a way to point out the positive things in them. I love this about you not only for me but our relationship as a whole. I’m not really like that. I think our kids are going to learn so much from you on how to value others and look for the positive things in them.”
“I appreciate the fact that you put me before you. A great example would be today; you like always had my breakfast ready before you even ate yours. I truly love this about you. I love that you put not only me but others such as our kids before you because I often struggle with it. You have something incredible that I normally have to remind myself to do. I value your act of putting me before you as it impacts our relationship because I feel that you truly love me.”
cover images by tord sollie; davide ragusa