About 3 years ago I was sitting in my office with a client who was complaining about her fiancé – and how he never did anything. She continued to tell me how lazy he was and how frustrating it was. I want to break down our conversation a little for you:
Me: Do you ask him to help you with certain things around the house?
Her: Sure, but it doesn’t matter – he won’t do them anyway, so I just end up doing everything.
Me: How do you ask him?
Her: I tell him he needs to take out the trash because I do everything else around here.
Me: What happens when he doesn’t take out the trash?
Her: I get upset with him and just do it myself. It’s not worth a fight.
Me: What happens on the rare occasion he does take out the trash?
Her: The trash gets taken out.
Me: Do you thank him for taking it out?
Her: No, he rarely does it and when he does he misses stuff anyways.
Me: What do you think would happen if you started telling him thank you – or showing him appreciation every time he did take out the trash?
Her: Yeah, right…I’m not going to throw him a cookie every time he does something he should be doing anyways!
Me: (through laughter) You’re right. You don’t have to thank him for everything he does for the house or for you. But what if you did? Do you think he would remember to do it more often?
Me: Can you try it out this week?
Her: I guess…but it won’t work.
Needless to say – 1 week later at our next appointment my client explained to me how she started saying thank you and showing more appreciation to her fiancé. Although she didn’t want to “throw him a cookie” – she was ecstatic with the results.
He took the trash out two times without being asked and also did the dishes after dinner three times that week. She even said that they had an amazing week and didn’t fight once – they felt closer than ever.
Why does this simple act work so well?
You don’t have to thank your spouse or show him/her appreciation for everything they do…but what does it hurt? Our partners generally want to make us happy, but they don’t often know how.
When they don’t receive your guidance on how to make them happy, they feel hopeless and feel like they can’t do anything right…eventually – they give up.
When you offer your spouse appreciation and gratitude they know that they are making you happy and then they will try harder and do more of what you like. Their self-esteem goes up…and so does their (and your) relationship satisfaction.
Another added benefit is that research shows happy couples have 5 positive interactions for every negative interaction – this is an easy way to add to your daily positive interactions.
So what do you really want and need? A spouse that feels they can't do anything right, or a spouse who knows exactly what you like.
I challenge you to put on your rose-colored sun glasses this week.
Try to ignore some of the not so good things, and TRY HARDER to catch your spouse in the act - of doing something you appreciate and like! (HINT: You can use this same technique in bed too!)
ACTION CREATES CHANGE. I would love to hear what action you are taking to create change, comment below and I’ll make sure to reply back to personally!
Valerie Kolick, therapist and relationship expert has created this blog to help couples and individuals create happiness and joy in their marriages and lives. If this is your first time here, LEARN MORE here and don’t forget to Download Your FREE Extraordinary Relationship Workbook.