Let me paint a scenario. Let's say you just set up an amazing date night. Dinner, candles, chill music — the works. Everything looks great, your partner comes home, and (womp, womp) they barely notice. When something like that happens, it's nearly impossible not to ponder ways to get your partner to value you more.
Yes, it's an extreme example. But the same concept applies to smaller things. Maybe you always remember to make coffee in the morning. Or you are the best at paying bills on time, or coming up with awesome vacation ideas. Whatever it is, I'm sure you want your partner to smile, to notice, to say thank you, and to show a little appreciation for your mere existence.
Of course there are a million reasons why your SO might occasionally drop that ball — they're tired, they don't realize the effort you put into something, they accidentally take you for granted. Whatever the reason may be, it's so important that you both take the time to value each other.
"[Appreciation] creates connectedness and emotional intimacy," says Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle. "It keeps you close as a couple, and keeps you from ever losing sight that you are partners, that this is the person you chose, and the reasons behind why you chose them." If you think you need a bit more of that in your relationship, then check out some of the tips below for ways to up your partner's appreciation factor.
1. Set A Good Example
Even though it should be obvious that appreciation is important, that isn't always the case. So go ahead and set a good example for your partner, and show them exactly how to act. "When we want something in our relationships, sometimes it works well to mirror the thing we want to receive," said Elizabeth Stone on ThoughtCatalog.com. "If you want your partner to say thank you, make sure that you’re saying it yourself."
2. Expect The Best From Them
If your partner has let you down in the past, you might grow to expect a lack of appreciation from them. While this is totally warranted, it still isn't a good idea. In fact, you should be doing the total opposite. People often rise to your idealized treatment of them, according to Stone. So keep your hopes for appreciation high, and your SO will probably meet them.
3. Show Yourself Some Respect
Don't go overboard with your acts of kindness in an effort to be more appreciated. Even though you probably have the best intentions, it can often backfire, and leave you feeling burnt out. "At times, it’s simply wiser to take good care of yourself first, so you can in turn be better (and truer) with others," said Preston Ni, MSBA, on Psychology Today. Wise words, indeed.
4. Drop Some Helpful Hints
In a perfect world, your partner would be able to read your mind. But since that's far from the case, it can help to offer up some examples of how they might appreciate you more, according to Martinez. For example, if you feel like your partner takes advantage of your morning coffee making ritual, then say so. It's better than keeping your gripes to yourself and hoping they'll change.
5. Write Them A Note
Marching up to your SO and yelling about their lack of appreciation is one tactic, albeit not an entirely affective one. It will only make them feel attacked (obviously), and put them on the defensive. That's where note writing can come in handy. "You can write [them] a letter and read it to [them], or just write down all the key points you want to communicate, so when you do talk to [them], your emotions won't get in the way," suggested Tara Block on PopSugar.com. Or, you can just pass it off for them to read. Either way, it should do the trick.
6. Don't Be So Bitter
"It’s so easy to get jaded in a relationship when it feels like things aren’t going well," Stone said. And when that happens, you might find yourself feeling bitterness towards your SO, which will only cause them to feel bitter in return. Doing your best to talk about things, instead of holding a grudge, really can help.
7. Stop Giving As Much
If the previous tips aren't doing the trick, it may eventually come time to cut off all of your giving, sweet ways. It may hurt at first, but it will show your partner what they are missing. As Ni said, "When appropriate, you may do yourself a big service by cutting off or limiting your giving to ungrateful people, and setting standards for your generosity (which may include values such as mutual respect, consideration, appreciation, and reciprocation)."
8. Create An Appreciation List
Sit down with your SO and jot down some ways you'd like them to show more appreciation. And, of course, let them do the same. "Once a day, show appreciation using one of the ways your partner wrote that s/he would like to be appreciated," said family counselor M. Gary Neuman, in an interview with Erin Meanly on Glamour. It can help to form some healthier habits in your relationship.
9. Put Yourself Out There
Remember my example about making a fancy date night? There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing things like that on the regular. It can even make you all the more appreciate in your relationship. "The more you put yourself out there and get vulnerable, the more others are able to truly love and appreciate you," said Stephanie Zamora on HuffingtonPost.com. "How can they if they don’t truly know you at your core?"
10. Appreciate How Much You're Valued Already
Sure, it can hurt when you call to check on your partner, and they never return the favor. But don't let one instance detract from all the ways they do appreciate you. Keep an eye out for the little things they do for you — there are likely many things that you totally miss.
11. Remind Them On The Regular
Once you get all comfy in a relationship, it's totally normal to fall into patterns. Take making coffee, for example. If you have made coffee 500 times, it starts to become routine to the point where it no longer feels special. So if your partner is taking the little things for granted, and not valuing you, throw out a simple reminder.
All of these tips may be just what your SO needs to show a little appreciate, and let you know how much you're valued. It really can be as easy as that.
Images: Pexels (11); Unsplash, Redd Angelo