Create A Culture Of Appreciation In Your Marriage & Family
No matter how long you have been married, it can be easy to take your spouse and family for granted. The busyness of life-work, children, school, social obligations etc. – can cause you to overlook the little kindnesses and efforts that your spouse and children make and result in them feeling unappreciated by you and taken for granted.
Most happy marriages and family relationships are built on a foundation of mutual appreciation. Building a culture of appreciation involves using the things you know about your partner and your children to show that you care about them and want them to be happy. Here are 3 great ways to show your appreciation.
Connect regularly with your spouse and family.
Many marriages and families fall apart because couples drift away from each other and become absorbed in their own interests. They don’t make an effort to connect with and do things together. Making an effort to be interested in what your spouse and your children are interested in is a way of showing your appreciation for them. Perhaps one spouse likes to exercise and stay in shape. Rather than go to the gym by themselves, they may want to invite their spouse to go to the gym too or take the family out for a family walk or outdoor game of softball at a nearby park. This inclusiveness is a way of saying “You are important to me and I appreciate you enough to want to spend time with you.”
Express affection openly and frequently.
Couples can easily drift apart when they neglect to express their affection for each other. Showing your affection openly does not require large lavish gifts or vacations. Simple exchanges of affection and appreciation go a long way toward reminding your spouse that you love them. Bring your wife a cup of coffee when she wakes up. When your spouse has had a stressful day, take their hand or hug them and tell them how proud you are of what they do. Simple little gestures and words can make your spouse feel appreciated and loved. The same is true for the rest of the family. Celebrating a special accomplishment with a favorite dessert or giving affectionate hugs periodically lets your children know how important they are to you.
Look for positives even in when your expectations aren’t met.
Rather than criticizing and complaining when your partner goofs up and does not do something according to your expectations, thank them for their effort and time. Maybe your spouse forgets to get an item from a long list at the store or does not do the best job with a home repair project. Thank them for the time they put into it and the effort they made. The same is true for your children. Provide them gentle guidance on how to complete the task but don’t criticize if it does not get done perfectly. It is important for them to know that your love is not conditional of their performance; so let them know that you appreciate their time and efforts.
When you build appreciation into your marriage and family relationship, other people notice it because your relationship is happy. It has a beneficial effect on the rest of the family as well. It is important for your children to see you take time to tell your partner how much you appreciate what they do and mean to you. It models a healthy, loving relationship behavior.Learn more about our Couples Therapy Exercises