Appreciation Makes All The Difference
“Love is not just tolerance. It's not just distant appreciation. It's a warm sense of, 'I am enjoying the fact that you are you.”
-N. T. Wright
I woke up this morning, like I do most mornings, paying little attention to anything beyond what has become my routine. I hit snooze one too many times on my alarm, jump out of bed, wash my face, brush my teeth, fix my face, comb my daughter's hair, get dressed and make a mad dash out the door, praying I'm not stopped by every light on my way to take my child to school.
My husband, bless his heart, is in charge of getting our daughter ready for the day. In spite of not having to wake up as early as we do, he does this specifically to help me in the mornings. He wakes her up with tickles and giggles, helps get her dressed, makes her lunch, gives her breakfast and makes sure her backpack is ready with everything she needs. He’s an unsung hero in that regard. Were it not for him volunteering to brave the mornings with me, I’d have to start hitting my snooze button much earlier than I do now. But, with this being a part of the routine, his efforts often go overlooked.
The work I put in on the flip-side often seems to be unheeded as well. I pick up our child from her after school program and rush home to make dinner, get her in the shower, take care of homework and read her a bedtime story so she gets to sleep with plenty of time to be well rested the next morning.
So goes the routine of taking one another for granted far too easily.
People in long term relationships tend to fall into the same trap as my husband and I do. All too often, we stick to a routine only to take notice and complain when that routine is broken or something goes awry. Rarely, do we ever praise that routine, and those who participate in it, when it works like a well-oiled machine.
According to Psychology today, the number one relationship grievance of married men, and some women, is the complaining their partners do which leads to feelings of not being appreciated. This got me thinking so I decided to send a simply worded, but very sincere thank you text to my husband for all that he does to help me. His response? “I was just thinking about how much you do for me! Thank you for being an amazing wife! I wouldn't be as good of a person as I am without you and I appreciate everything you do.”
We made each other’s day with one little text message. It was just that simple.
Back in 2013, Huffington Post published an article titled: If Not Shown Appreciation, It Gets to You. It starts off with a quote by Philosopher William James who said, “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” I’d call that accurate, to say the least. It’s human nature to want to be noticed for the good work you do whether it be at home, at work or anywhere you may volunteer your time.
The article goes on to describe how women (especially) who are feeling unappreciated are contemplating divorce at a higher rate because of it. People quit jobs, quit marriages, and will fundamentally change their lives because they feel taken for granted. It’s a big deal!
Before we get there, before that thought ever crosses our minds, wouldn’t it just be easier to tell the person you love that you love and appreciate what they do? Knowing how it feels to be, at times, taken for granted yourself, should automatically drive you to not want or allow your beloved partner to feel that way. Simply saying, “thank you,” “I love you,” “I appreciate you,” “I see you,” can help you and your relationships go the distance. So today, say something, give an extra-long hug, and look your partner in the eye so they know you mean it. You can easily make someone’s day and gain a solid amount of reciprocity in the process.