Successful Marriage Installment #2 – How to Make your Good Marriage, Great!
In the last installment of Successful Marriage – Make your Good Marriage, Great! you learned the first of the 5 things you can do to make your good marriage great. You learned about the power of creating a relationship vision and how that provides the roadmap for you to achieve your most successful relationship dreams. In this installment of Successful Marriage we will discuss the 2nd thing you can do to make your good marriage great- appreciations.
I love appreciations as they are a breath of fresh air. They are the building blocks of any successful relationship and their regular implementation can go a long way. I am sure you say thank you to your spouse and what you are going to learn today is one step beyond.
If you have ever felt resentful in your marriage it may have been hard to see the good in your spouse, yet it is precisely at that moment that you could make the shift from negativity to feelings of fondness. The more you express to your spouse what you appreciate about him/her, the more good will you will feel. In turn, your spouse’s resentment will diminish as he/she realizes that you appreciate him/her. It will also reinforce the positive behavior. “Wow, look at the response I received for taking out the garbage. I’ll make sure I do it again.” Thus, one appreciation can cause a buildup of positive energy in your relationship.
The best way to express an appreciation is if you have your spouse’s full attention. When you remember to thank your spouse for making your lunch, are you running out the door, yelling from another room, or calling on your cellphone? Making sure you have a real face-to-face moment to share your appreciation allows both parties to really be present with each other.
If you want to deepen your appreciation, share with your spouse the reason you appreciate him/her. This goes beyond a mere thank you but expresses your thanks on an emotional level, which can touch your spouse’s heart. Remember that when you are providing the reason for the appreciation that it must be purely positive. Backhanded compliments with negative implications do not express true appreciation and can be poisonous to a marriage. (Ex: “Thanks a lot for doing x,y,z, because you never do!”) By focusing on the positive, you will increase positive energy in your marriage.
For those on the receiving end, how would you typically respond if you were being thanked for making lunch? “No problem, it was nothing, my pleasure, you’re welcome, sure….” Maybe you weren’t even listening. When you hear an appreciation, try to really take in your spouse’s kind words and to feel the positive sentiment that he is expressing. You may even want to mirror or reflect back the appreciation without responding at all initially. When you mirror what your spouse says you are compelled to listen and not interject, argue, or even belittle his/her own efforts. If a spouse is not able to receive the love that the partner is showing, s/he prevents the positive energy occasioned by such interactions and disregards this opportunity to build happiness and the most successful marriage possible.
Even something that is seemingly trivial or obvious should be articulated for a successful marriage. Besides the aforementioned benefits of expressing gratitude, the benefits of articulating appreciations are two-fold. By becoming more conscious, the one sharing the appreciation will experience increased feelings of gratitude towards his/her spouse and the one on the receiving end will feel good that his/her actions were noticed. Feelings of resentment or being taken for granted start to dissipate, and the relationship quickly shifts to a more successful one.
Not only does this exercise infuse joy into relationships, it also motivates change. When one is constantly feeling appreciated, he/she will be motivated to continue those actions.
Try making time to share appreciations. Whether it is once a day or once a week, it will do wonders for helping you to achieve a successful marriage.
Successful Marriage Exercise:
Make a list of ten things you appreciate about your spouse as well as the reason why you appreciate those things. If your spouse is reading the Successful Marriage Course with you, make a time to share appreciations. If you try to do it daily, say every night before bedtime, then that is great. Sit down in two chairs facing each other.
Here is an example of what an appreciation might look like. If you are on the receiving end, make sure to repeat back what you heard and not interject.
Husband: I appreciate that you made my lunch today.
Wife: You said that you appreciate that I made your lunch today. Did I get you? (Did I understand you correctly?)
Husband: And the reason I appreciate that is that I feel that you love me and care about me.
Wife: You said that the reason you appreciate that is that you feel that I love you and care about you? Did I get you? Is there more? (is there more you want to say about that?)
Wife: Thank you
If you are doing this on your own, try to find a time when your spouse can sit down with you and simply share your appreciation and the reason. It will be much appreciated!
Let’s summarize what you learned in this installment of Successful Marriage – 5 things you can do to Make your Good Marriage, Great!
– The importance of the appreciations in increasing positive energy in your relationship
– Make it more meaningful by setting aside special time and sharing the reason why you appreciate it.
– Take in your spouse’s appreciation and allow yourself to feel it.
I’m looking forward to sending you the next installment of Successful Marriage. As always, if you have any questions about any of what you read in our Successful Marriage Course please Contact me here or at 443-570-7598.