It is one thing to love another, but you never get the full benefit of the relationship until you learn to truly appreciate the other. ~ Larry Williamson
We all know we can appreciate another for some act they did, or for words they spoke, but how do we go about building and sustaining appreciation for one we are blessed to be with on a daily basis? How do you transition from appreciating the act or words, to an appreciation of the individual?
Having a sincere and true appreciation of another person is a special thing. Without appreciation how can you value, respect, and honor another? Frequently when I ask someone if they appreciate their partner they respond yes, typically without even stopping to give it any thought. Yet when I ask the partner if they feel truly appreciated, I don't always get the same response. Why is that?
While I deeply appreciate my wife, that alone is not good enough. It is important to me for her to feel it, to know it. I want her to know beyond any doubt how I feel. The way she knows she is appreciated is because I not only show her through actions, I tell her, every single day. Find one thing each day you can share with your partner that you appreciate about them. It is so simple, so important, and it is such wonderful habit to get in to. Of course, telling your partner how much they are appreciated only works if it is done consistently and with true sincerity. If I was not sincere, Carolyn would see through me in a minute!
As stated previously in, "Developing Appreciation," when I first started telling Carolyn specifically what I valued and appreciated about her, accepting it was outside her comfort zone. I kept it up, telling her one new thing every day. I was consistent, I was sincere. After a while she began to accept and appreciate what I was telling her.
I don't think people really comprehend the devastating effects of talking negatively about their partner. Have you ever been with a group of friends and the topic turns to sharing things their partners do that bother them? As I have said before, what we focus on expands! Choose not to participate in such discussions. It's interesting, the more I focus on and share the things I appreciate, the more I see to appreciate. It works both ways!
Do you spend more time looking for and focusing on the things you appreciate about your partner, or on the things they do that possible irritate you?
I once had a client who asked me to coach him in his efforts to save his marriage. After a lengthly conversation, I agreed to work with him under certain conditions. One of these conditions was that he and I would never have a conversation about his wife. Initially he did not understand this and asked why. I shared with him that we would discuss and focus on only the words, behavior, actions, etc., that were under his control, his own! He eventually came to understand and appreciate this.
If you want to make appreciation a real part of your daily life with someone, then make it happen. Don't allow anything said or done by another to take you off your path. Remember, we and we alone are responsible for our own attitudes, beliefs, words, and actions. Anytime we try to rationalize our own behavior/words based on something someone else says or does, we are headed down a dead end road.