Feeling validated and appreciated by your spouse/partner is vital to the overall health of the relationship. Regardless of whatever brought you together in the beginning of your relationship, it is very important that your efforts, concerns and actions are noticed, appreciated, and validated by your spouse/partner. This involves both recognition and acknowledgment. This can range from acknowledging and showing appreciation for your spouse/partner performing mundane daily tasks like doing laundry or dishes to more significant matters such as being supportive of your partner’s career, which oftentimes means making significant personal sacrifices.

It is basic human nature to want to feel praise from others, and, most certainly, kind words can be very helpful for someone’s psyche. However, taking it one step further by telling your spouse/partner daily something you appreciate about them can have a long-lasting positive impact on their self-esteem, commitment to the relationship, and general feelings of well-being. If you are being honest, there are going to be things about your spouse/partner that trigger you negatively or that you do not feel are helpful. There are going to be things though that are helpful to you and the relationship. It is important to speak less of the things that bother you and more about the things that are helpful.

A simple analogy involves food preparation. For example, your spouse/partner makes a dish that you are not particularly fond of. You are not going to tell your spouse/partner “This dish is horrible”. You will likely choose other words that suggest, while you appreciate the effort of preparing the food, it is not your favorite dish. On the other hand, if you really enjoy a dish made by your spouse/partner, you will likely say so which will not only result in your spouse/partner feeling good that you enjoyed the dish, it most assuredly will result in that dish being prepared more often. In other words, the recognition, acknowledgment, and showing of appreciation to your spouse/partner will pay dividends for both you and your spouse/partner in the future.

This concept may seem overly simplistic or rudimentary but it is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your spouse/partner and your relationship. Imagine if your spouse/partner tells you something they appreciate about you every day and vice versa. The personal benefits of that for both spouses/partners lead to an increased feeling of connection in the relationship. In other words, even though one spouse/partner sends a message of appreciation while the other receives it, both spouses/partners make movement by actually being drawn closer together based on mutual feelings of acknowledgment and validation.

Silence is always dangerous to a relationship. Countries have avoided full-scale wars by speaking and negotiating. Couples have avoided divorce or separation based on openly and honestly discussing matters with a marital therapist. Hopefully, the list of things you appreciate about your spouse/partner is long and easy to identify. My suggestion is to make it known to them. Often.