Showing Appreciation in a Healthy Relationship

by Dr. John Hart, LGMFT


One of the underlying problems with being together in a relationship over a period of time is that we sometimes forget to show our partner that we appreciate them. But let’s not also forget that we also feel good about ourselves when we feel appreciated as well. The scary thing with this dilemma is that couples usually “guess” that they show appreciation to their partner and at the same time know they are appreciated. Here are three easy steps to ensure that both you and your partner show appreciation.

1. Your Small Actions Do Matter – It’s easy to think about doing something big to pull this off. But, the key to making sure that your actions of appreciation are more often and consistent is to think about the small gestures that will matter to your partner. This is when knowing your partner will pay off and will make both of you feel good!

2. Explicitly Verbalize Your Appreciation – This goes without saying but your partner won’t know if you don’t say anything on what the gesture is about? Also be mindful that when you explicitly express your appreciation, you are in a positive moodCaution – if you are the partner showing appreciation in that moment, do not obligate your partner to do so as well immediately. Your gesture will most likely motivate them to show you their appreciation of you at some point soon.

3. Expand Your Thank You’s – Whenever your partner does something for you whether basic (e.g., picking up your dry cleaning) or something extravagant (e.g., an expensive outing), it is not just enough to say “Thank you” anymore. Expand that sentiment afterwards by expressing how meaningful the gesture was in terms of how it made you feel and how it positively impacted your day.

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