Consider the following three ways you can promote healthy amounts of value and appreciation within your relationship.
1. Value your partner first.
Don’t wait for your partner to make the first move in patching up the relationship. In long-term relationships, it’s common for one or both of the individuals to get used to the day-to-day roles and responsibilities. They start to look at employment, housework, affection, and so on as just part of the drill. They start to feel entitled to the other person performing those tasks, and stop feeling the appreciation they originally felt when the relationship began.
Where we used to revel in, and praise vehemently, a romantic gesture or help with a household task, we start to expect it. Start to identify and be grateful for the things your partner does for you directly, or indirectly. Write a list of all of the things he or she does to support you, your kids, and your home. Write down the traits that drew you to your partner in the first place and recognize the growth that has been made. Risk reaching out, even when you don’t feel like it. Say “thank you” for the small things.
2. Do things worth valuing.
Every person is innately and unconditionally valuable; but think about the things, or people, that you value most in your life. Do they treat you like garbage? Are they things that hold no intrinsic or sentimental value? The answer is “no.” People value others that have helped, strengthened, and supported them the most. They value things that have memories attached to them, or things that help them acquire what they like and need.
The book “The Five Love Languages” talks about different people having different love languages, or ways to feel and express love and appreciation. You may be speaking a different love language than your partner. This is important to remember, because the things you value may not always be the things that your partner values. Seek out ways to show appreciation that are valuable to your partner. You may have to do something different, something new, something other than your usual everyday responsibilities; but in doing this, you do things that are worth valuing to your partner.
3. Express needs and feelings without attacking.
Listen, Listen, Listen! Listening is the key to great expression and conversation. When we understand others we can express our needs in ways that work along with them, instead of against them. Own your own feelings of feeling undervalued and ask for suggestions of things you can do together to feel more valued and appreciated, rather than making accusatory statements like, “You don’t value me! You don’t even like me anymore!”
In order for relationships to work, and in order to gain mutual satisfaction, it’s important for both parties to feel valued. If this issue becomes chronic, it shouldn’t be something to just skip over and think, “this will pass.” Take an active role in finding ways to value your partner, and in turn, increase your partner’s appreciation of you.