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November 28, 2016

Appreciating Appreciation

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
(William James)

The easiest way I know to bring great harmony into your marriage is to just say thank you. Go out of your way to discover something your spouse does that makes your home life possible:

-cleans the dishes
-reads to the kids
-pays the bills and minds the finances
-works hard to make money
-listens to you without distraction
-speaks highly of you in front of others
-rakes the leaves
-cooks dinner
-looks at you in a way that reminds you you’re still attractive

This isn’t hard, or complicated. It can be vulnerable, however. And it can feel emotionally expensive, especially if you’re resentful that your spouse is the one who under-appreciates you.

Do it anyway. Don’t make a huge production out of it; do it drive-by style–notice something, or remember something, and shoot off a brief text. Or mention it as you’re walking from one room to another, with a gentle pass of your hand across the back.

“Hey, thanks for getting the groceries after work yesterday.”

Nothing more. Make it brief and specific, without any generic commentary like, “You’re such a wonderful wife…” Make it sound almost nonchalant, giving the impression that you just wanted to note that you noticed her/him.

Make it a habit, even if it doesn’t come back to you right away.

Trust me on this one.

Peace begins with pause,

One thought on “Appreciating Appreciation

  1. While I appreciate the sentiments in the comments above, what is the scream free pause for the single parent who has no help, and whose well is going dry from trying to juggle the may day-to-day tasks listed above, and who will never receive such appreciation? It is a struggle to do all of these things day in and day out with no appreciation, mostly because your children are too young to express it. Or how would the parent who never does – and never will – enjoy such partnership from her/his spouse cope without screaming? Hal – I would love if you started a daily pause aimed directly at single parents & those who are parenting alone. That is the daily pause I truly want to – and need to – read.

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