March 3rd was Employee Appreciation Day and many of you reading this may have a received a small token (or large, for that matter) of appreciation from your employer. No matter the size of the gesture, I hope it brightened up your day.
Lately, it seems like appreciation is in short supply and it’s a sentiment I hear echoed in both my private practice coaching as well as my marital counseling sessions. Many individuals are willing to only work so hard at something, with little to no appreciation, especially in a relationship.
My colleague Susan Block, LMFT, and I created a video on How to Increase Appreciation for Your Partner or Your Spouse in which we discuss the importance of building a culture of appreciation within any relationship or marriage. And although this can feel like a big task to take on, it’s actually rather simple with anything if we create a clear goal, plan and system.
The number one way to incorporate appreciation into the culture of your relationship is to express gratitude in the relationship by saying, “Thank you”. Even if it is things that you don’t “feel like” you need to acknowledge. I hear many couples say, “well s/he should just know that… “
“Thank you for doing the dishes.”
“Thank you for giving the kids a bath tonight.”
“Thank you for being you.”
Easy right? Well, in theory, yes. Many couples, especially couples in long term relationships, struggle to incorporate gratitude and appreciation back into the relationship because they’ve lost touch with many of the things which once initially attracted them to their partner. What might have once made you laugh, you now only find irritating.
If you’re struggling to find appreciation in your relationship, it might be time to examine your role and your partner’s role in the relationship. A professor of mine once said, “You wouldn’t accept a job without having a job description, with clear roles and responsibilities, why would you enter to a relationship without something similar?” Good one, right! I love this one.
It might seem a little cold and calculated, to draft up some sort of contract regarding roles and responsibilities in a marriage, yet just as “good fences make good neighbors”, boundaries within a relationship can improve the health and well being of the couple.
It’s important for couples to determine who will be the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the family and come to an agreement about how money will be spent in the family. Regular budget meetings, while boring and reminiscent of work, are crucial to the financial success of any family. Similarly, one partner will need to assume the role of of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and be responsible for coordinating the operations of the household.
Applying these types of business practices to your household allows you to honor one another’s strengths. Perhaps you can’t stand handling a budget yet your spouse or partner enjoys making sense of numbers; you’d prefer to plan a vacation. In this way, you and your partner can work together to create a budget and a plan for that dream vacation you’ve only talked about taking.
Overall it is important to acknowledge and appreciate one another for your various roles in your relationship as well as the awesome stuff about you each individually and together. Look I never heard anyone get annoyed by too much appreciation or celebration whether it be at work or in their relationship just assure your appreciations are genuine and heartfelt.
If you’re relationship is lacking defined roles and responsibilities and you want to build a culture of appreciation, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 or Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com, talk with you soon!