Very often in a marriage, spouses stop consciously appreciating each other. The passage of time, the growth of familiarity and the busyness of life all work to dull our appreciation of the person we married. This can make it really hard to fully enjoy and engage in your relationship. Learning to appreciate each other again and show that appreciation can go a long way toward revitalizing your relationship and giving you a happier marriage.
SheKnows.com has a great article in their “Love lesson” column, called “How to Appreciate Each Other More.”
In it, author Jessica Padykula explains that
Taking your partner for granted means that you’re not appreciating the way they contribute to or enhance your relationship and expecting things of them without asking or discussing them first.”
She goes on to separate the reasons we fail to appreciate each other into two groups: failing to acknowledge your spouse’s contributions or qualities and using your partner to meet your needs.
Here are some of the ways she says that we fail to appreciate what our spouse is or does:
Not thanking our partner when they do something nice for us. Not acknowledging our partner verbally or with eye contact when they are speaking. Being inconsiderate of our partner’s time by being late. Not letting our partner know that we appreciate the small things they do each day.
These are all things that most of us were raised to do for other people, and most of us are pretty good at doing these things for colleagues, friends and relatives, but we tend to slip up when it comes to our partners. Maybe this is laziness or maybe we know our spouses will still love us anyway. However, failing to follow these common rules of courtesy and appreciation can build resentment in our mates. It can also dull our hearts and eyes to all the things we love about them.
Padykula also says that we can fail to appreciate our spouses by using them to meet our needs:
Objectifying and pigeonholing your partner into specific roles and not seeing them beyond those roles. Expecting that your partner should meet all your physical or other needs without giving anything in return. Expecting your partner to carry the financial responsibility for the household. Expecting your partner to look after all the household chores.
Look over these lists, perhaps together, and see where each of you can work to improve the ways you show appreciation to each other. Choose one thing for each of you to work on or agree to tackle one thing together. It’ll make you more purposeful and mindful of appreciating all the ways that your spouse adds to your marriage and your life.