Showing appreciation is important, not just during the season of Valentine’s Day or anniversaries, but each and every day. Partners who don’t often show appreciation for each other are much more likely to have criticism, contempt or defensiveness in their relationship. Researcher Dr. John Gottman suggests that the simple act of appreciation can shift the entire culture of a relationship. Expressing appreciation in our relationships will foster more gratitude and connection with our partners.
There are many different ways we can acknowledge our partners to create a stronger, more admirable bond. You may already be familiar with the five love languages, or most common ways to express love: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Below we’ve provided our own tips for expressing appreciation in a relationship. You’ll see that the love languages are incorporated into each one.
Take Note of the Little Things
Verbally expressing our appreciation can be simple, yet very impactful. Make a conscious effort to notice the little things, like household chores your partner does or sweet moments they have helping the kids. When we catch our partners in the act of doing good stuff, we can make a habit out of thanking them and acknowledging their efforts as a way to show love.
Date Your Partner
Show that you appreciate your partner by making plans with them. Put a little bit more thought into planning dates for the two of you. You can get creative with this while being at home, due to the pandemic. Try dressing up one night a week to cook a delicious dinner at home. Or go on a hike together and have a picnic at the top. Finding time to date your partner will show that you care about continuing to build your connection through quality time together.
Support Their Passions
Strong and healthy partnerships are filled with support. Be supportive of your partner’s passions and hobbies, by showing an interest in them or giving them some time to pursue them. Showing that we are on our partner’s side and that we care about the things that make them happy is another great way to show appreciation for the person they are.
More Tips from John Gottman
Here are just a few more ideas that Gottman gives for ways to express appreciation:
- Express affection
- Exchange tender touch
- Kiss one another passionately
- Give compliments (simple, but often overlooked, especially in long-term relationships)
- Give them a surprise present (go for the thought, not the price tag)
- Share silly and/or romantic poems
- Ask, “What can I do next week to make you feel more loved?”