Hello my name is Bri McCarroll and I’m a psychotherapist located in Western Massachusetts and I work with the joys, sorrows and challenges of our relationships.
I want to talk about something that I’ve heard so many times from couples that I work with. Again, I work with couples in Private Retreats and also Workshops. So many times, from one or maybe even both of the partners, I hear the comment, “I just don’t feel appreciated by my partner…I don’t feel that he acknowledges what I am doing and he just doesn’t seem to appreciate me.”
Today, I want to speak to the benefits of showing appreciation in our relationships in case you are not doing it. And, in case you are, some ways to make it a little bit more effective so that you are getting the best bang for your buck when you are showing that appreciation; getting the most benefits possible that you can when you are showing that appreciation.
What are the Benefits of Showing Appreciation?
What’s the benefit, what’s the gain to be had by showing appreciation? Now that may seem like a silly question, but I think it’s worth exploring a little bit.
Partners Learn What is Important to Us
First of all, when we show appreciation to our partner by saying “Thank you”, etc., etc., however we show that appreciation, the biggest benefit is that it helps our partners know what is important to us.
When I say, “Gosh, thanks for putting that coffee out this morning and getting my cup ready.” I am saying to my partner, “I like it when you get my coffee ready for me in the morning.”
When I say, “Gosh, it was so wonderful to come home and actually see you at the door and you gave me a smile; that really warmed my heart.” What am I saying to my partner? I am saying, “I like it when you great me at the door with a smile.”
By highlighting things we are saying vis-a-vis appreciation, it helps our partners learn and know what’s important to us and that’s fantastic. They are not mind-readers. So the more that we can cue them in into what’s important to us, it’s a win for both of you guys, right? Right! So that’s one reason.
Modeling Increases the Possibility Our Partners Will Reciprocate
The second reason is, I am going to guess, that you may not feel valued or appreciated by your partner at times. By us doing more acknowledgment, showing appreciation via “Thank you”, gratitude, and little notes, however….by us doing that, we are also modeling for our partners what we want. So by us doing that, by example, they hopefully will reciprocate and start to show appreciation and voicing those acknowledgements to us, as well. So again, win-win. We love it!
Expressing Appreciation Increases Your Well-being
Third, it’s not all about taking care of your partner, right? One of the benefits of showing gratitude and acknowledging the good things that we have (that our partners are doing) is also going to help YOU!
So, there have been a lot of studies that have been done that show that by focusing on the good, (which I have talked about at other times), but by focusing on the good, even if it’s in the act of saying, “Thank you for doing this.” that also helps US feel better. It helps us see more good things both in our partner and in life in general, and that’s going to improve our own well-being. So, although it’s great to do it for them, it’s also great to do it for yourself.
Again, the three reasons that we might want to actually show more gratitude towards our partners are:
- It helps cue them in into what is important to us.
- It’s modeling, and so it will encourage them to actually be showing gratitude and voicing that to us.
- It’s good for you. And it’s a good, kind, human behavior. I am slipping that one in!
How to More Effectively ‘Thank’ Your Partner
As oar as how to do it in a way that might be a little bit more effective, I want you to listen to this. Listen to these two different options, ok?
Say your spouse has cooked dinner after work, did a nice job, set the table, cleaned up afterwards and did the dishes. Yeah! That was a score. That was a lot of great things! And so at the end of the evening, you say, “Thanks!” That’s one option.
Say the same thing, he was awesome, he did all these fantastic things and you say, “Honey, thank you so much for cooking this meal this evening. I love how you figured it out without me having to say anything and it was delicious. It was so nice that you were able to do that; I was tired today and that was wicked helpful. Thank you so much for that.”
This is a no-brainer, but what’s the difference between the two? In the first one, it was nice. You said “Thanks.” Yeah! But you didn’t have a lot of detail, your spouse didn’t know:
- What you were specifically thanking him for.
- How it impacted you.
When we give a “Thanks”, it’s really helpful if we specify what we actually are appreciating. This may sound corny a little bit, but the more detailed you can make it, the better it is for your partner to know, “Oh my gosh! This is what I did well!” So do that.
Explain How It Impacts You
Another thing to add on to that, in addition to being specific, is also how it made you feel. If it made you feel relieved, special, heard, or understood…those are fantastic things to be sharing with your partner, because it helps him know, “Oh! If I do this thing, my partner might get this response.” Again, again, again, again. More wins for you and your relationship.
Just one more tiny example. Say your partner comes home, looks at you and says, “Oh, you look really great today.” and you say, “Thanks!” Ok, certainly you could just say, “Thanks.” You could, that’s fine.
But imagine if you said, instead, “Thanks! I love to hear that you still find me attractive. That just is nice! I like that!” How wonderful is that? This helps cue your partner in, again indirectly saying, “It’s nice for me to get those compliments from you and it’s re-affirming for me, and it feels good when I hear them.” OK?
Again, no big drama about this, just use those “Thank you’s” as a tool to cue your partner into what you like, hopefully to get him to give you more “Thank you’s”, and also just because it’s good, healthy stuff. It’s good for you as a human and it’s nice etiquette in general.
If you’ve enjoyed this, and you appreciate it, please happily share this with other people, because I would appreciate that if you do. The more that this good stuff can be spread around, it’s good for all of us. So definitely at the bottom of the page, press “Share” and share with other people.
If you want to check me out and see if I can be helpful for you in your relationship, my site that I use for couples for the Workshops and Retreats, is www.NewEnglandHoldMeTight.com. I also work with some individuals and that website is www.TherapywithBri.com.
Ok, I hope you have a fantastic day. Please leave questions and comments if you have them and I will definitely answer them. Thanks so much. And, thank you for viewing, because, when you view, it helps me feel good that what I am doing is helpful and worthwhile for someone. So “Thank you.”
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