Successful relationships tend to have similar characteristics and qualities. These can vary in how they present, but generally speaking, couples who engage in joyful and positive connections with one another share several elements. Showing your spouse you appreciate and value them can be challenging; every person likes to receive affection and appreciation differently. Take a look at the following elements of a connected and positive relationship then look at your own to evaluate whether or not these are present.
Life is often busy. Between work, school, activities and interests, and family responsibilities, we often get lost in the shuffle. This can make it much more challenging to see and meet the needs or wants of your spouse. No activity or responsibility should be more important than the person you love. When your daily life becomes hectic, take a few minutes to prioritize your day or your week. Have you included time to address the needs of your spouse? It is essential to make the person who is your partner your priority – it is important to keep your priorities straight! Do not let anyone or anything get in the way of making time for your spouse.
2. Quality time
Speaking of time, quality time is essential to keeping any relationship healthy. Without it, there is no space to grow, change, and evolve together. It is the time set aside with intention that is most important. You are saying to your spouse that not only are they important, but that you value every single moment spent by their side. Make it a point to put the phone down, disconnect from social media, and simply enjoy the time.
3. Vocal gratitude
It is not enough to say “thank you” sometimes. When your spouse has done something kind or gone out of the way to make the busyness of life just a tad bit simpler, take the time to truly express gratitude. Be specific about what you appreciate: “Thank you for mowing while I was at work today. I was dreading doing that when I came home, so it was definitely a pleasant surprise when it was already done!” Thank them not just for what they do, but who they are: “Thank you for being so willing to listen when I came home from a bad day at work today. It made me feel valuable and important.”
4. Assistance in return
In return, you should be willing to do the same for your partner. Take the time to ask about their day and truly listen, even if it is not of interest. Be supportive when your partner is hurting – remember, you are their safe place. Do something kind without seeking action in return; unselfish acts of kindness can be the most touching and create a unique sense of connectedness between partners.
5. Public acknowledgement
Gratitude and acts of kindness in private can communicate love and affection in unique ways. However, public acknowledgement of achievements or acts of service can create a whole new sense of appreciation. A partner who openly recognizes and praises their spouse in front of others is making a statement with witnesses, often strengthening the sincerity of thankfulness. It often means more to the recipient if the statement is made without fear of who may be listening.
6. “Before anyone else”
Put your partner first. Nothing speaks of appreciation or value more than treating the person you love as if they are irreplaceable. The spouse who feels appreciated and valued by the person they have chosen to partner with is likely to engage in more physical intimacy and openness in communication. It is sometimes not enough to simply “invite” them to participate in a shared activity. Sometimes it requires going outside of your comfort zone or putting the interests of your spouse ahead of your own. Pay attention to what they enjoy and who they like being around. Going out of your way to put your spouse first in everything can have any number of benefits with very little risk.
While these strategies are not an exhaustive list of ways to show your spouse how much you appreciate and love them, they are simple and almost immediately effective. Do not be afraid to go out of your way to show your partner they come first. Try to be consistent with using one or two of these approaches and you may soon find yourself reaping the many benefits of selflessness in a relationship