When you are feeling discouraged in your marriage (and we all do at times), it is easy to desire one quick & easy fix. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Contrary to what the film industry has been telling us for decades, happy marriages don’t just happen. You and I make them happen. Whatever you want to call it – Marriage is work. And like everything else that you want to keep in good condition, it, too, requires some TLC (read: work). And, it’s the kind of work you cannot outsource.
But wait! In case you’re thinking – wow, thanks…that sounds depressing… There is something you can do to start saving your marriage TODAY.
Start with one word — or phrase — of appreciation.
One a day. That’s it.
It’s that simple.
Many couples I see in my practice will say: I keep doing all these things, and nobody notices any of it – not the kids, not my husband (or wife), and I am tired of it all. Consider for a moment the difference that adding words of appreciation could make.
• You build up your spouse with encouragement.
• You start focusing on more positive aspects of your relationship.
• You put a smile on their face.
In our relationships, our communication tends to be heavy on the negative. Anytime we talk it’s to voice a concern or a complaint or a dissatisfaction of sorts. We need to balance the negative content with more positive conversations. And this can be one.
In the words of the relationship guru and a mentor of mine, Terry Real, most couples are appreciation deficient and need to become more appreciation efficient.
Of course, it can be hard to think of encouraging words. Most things are hard when you first start trying. Sometimes it’s hard to see actions worth appreciating. But for the sake of trying, put a couple of these suggestions to the test:
–Maybe after dinner, instead of simply saying “Thank you” you take time to tell your spouse how good you have it; they not only know how to cook but they care enough to make meals you enjoy. And they do it often.
–Perhaps you notice that your spouse took out the trash. You can tell them you were just thinking about how much you dread doing that and thank them for taking care of it.
–On a day when you find it hard to think of something, thank your spouse for working for the family (whether you both work at jobs outside the home, or if one of you is home with children).
Ultimately, what you choose to compliment doesn’t really matter! Be open to noticing these things around you.
Just remember: Whatever you say or do, you HAVE TO MEAN IT! Faking it won’t get you anywhere. So, do yourself a favor and remember that.
There you have it: Give your spouse a word of encouragement today! If ever in doubt whether you’ve already done it that day, it’s always safer to do a couple than do none.
Ready, set, go!