Relationships can seem challenging once the honeymoon phase gets over. You may feel you need to invest a lot of time and effort to maintain a romantic connection. But keeping the spark alive doesn’t have to be so hard. All it needs are a few little things to make your partner feel appreciated.
Here are ways to make your partner feel appreciated:
1) Ask if she feels appreciated.
This is number one on the list for a reason. Research on divorce indicates that when men are asked about marital satisfaction they rate the quality of their relationship much higher than their spouses. This may be the reason many men are surprised when their spouses walk out or ask for a divorce. There is a disconnect between men and woman and marital satisfaction. Why? It may be due to different needs and expectations as to what the relationship is supposed to offer and provide.
The best way to be proactive in this department is to ask, rather than assume, all is well. If she says she is feeling appreciated – great. Keep doing what works. On the other hand, if she says no – red flag. This is your opportunity to ask what is missing and see what you can do to change the situation.
2) Ask how she is doing.
This sounds like such an obvious one. Don’t we all ask how the other person is doing when we meet after work? The problem is not that we don’t ask, but that we don’t listen. Why? Because we are tired. It is always the same answer. We are focused on our problems. When you arrive home you may just want a drink and have no patience to listen to how her day went.
Here’s a little trick to prepare yourself for this encounter.
- Don’t come straight home from work.
- Take a few minutes to go for a short walk, listen to music in the driveway, meditate, whatever.
- Just take some time for yourself to shed the stress of the day before you walk into the house.
This will put you into a better frame of mind and make listening much easier. It may also change how you reflect on the day as well.
I don’t mean to listen while watching TV or using your computer. I mean that you stop everything and turn your focus towards your partner. Look her in the eyes and let her know that you are listening. This is a powerful action to take and can dramatically affect, not only the immediate situation but your entire relationship.
So many couples complain to me about how their partner does not listen to them. Everyone wants to be heard, truly listened to, and understood. That is one way we feel connected. It is also an act of intimacy. If you have heard your partner say that she wants more intimacy (and you know it is not sex he/she is talking about), take the time to listen. When you do this she will feel valued, appreciated and respected. Which leads me to the next item . . .
Gottman, in his research, talks about the importance of respect in a relationship. It is so important that he can predict with a high degree of accuracy if a relationship will succeed or not based on the level of respect between the partners. Low respect by one partner towards another is a high predictor of relationship failure.
Respect, or lack thereof, can creep into a relationship over time. We take the person for granted, we are in a foul mood and take it out on our partner, or we are having issues in the relationship, and we are nasty fighters.
If we are not careful, we may initiate a pattern of disrespect for the person we say we love the most. If you find yourself in this situation an immediate response is required. It may be a long talk with your partner to discuss your behavior and desire to change. It may be a trip to the marriage counselor or religious leader. Whatever you decide, prompt action will be required because a loss of respect doesn’t get better on its own.