After you have been with your spouse or partner for a number of years, it is easy to get frustrated with the little things they do that drive you crazy.
However, it is also important to remember all of the sweet and wonderful things that you love about them.
Here are a few tips for creating a list of the things that you appreciate about your partner, an exercise which will help keep your relationship strong and happy.
To start, keep in mind that you can approach this exercise in different ways.
For example, you list intangible qualities, like generosity, honesty, and kindness. Another might be to focus on specific things your partner does that you love – regularly preparing dinner, for example, or helping you remember important appointments that always seem to slip your mind. If you want, your list can be a mix of intangible and concrete things.
At first, it may be difficult to create a list, especially if you’ve grown annoyed by much of what your long-term partner does.
Eliminate that block by reflecting on your differences in a positive light. All too often, couples grown accustomed to snapping at each other for handling life’s demands in ways that, to the partner, are “wrong.”
Sometimes they very well may be wrong, but other times they might simply be different.
One of the first steps to appreciating your partner again is to learn to embrace their quirks without taking them to be negative.
That is not to say that all behavior, destructive and non-destructive alike, should be warmly embraced. It does mean, however, that you should learn to recognize habits that are simply extensions of your partner’s personality, and not something to be criticized.
Reflecting on your differences can help you create your list.
Think about traits you might be lacking, but that your partner seems to have in abundance. Consider small chores you tend to overlook, but that your partner completes without fail. By recognizing your own tiny faults, it can then be easier to appreciate your partner’s qualities that manage to complement yours so well.
Tap into your memory to find positive experiences you shared, too.
Perhaps there is a warm moment that stands out, or a funny situation, or a difficult one that you got through together. Reflect on the qualities your partner contributed to the situation that made it so memorable. Chances are they are the same traits that you should still be appreciating.
After you have created your list, don’t keep it to yourself!
Let your partner know how much you appreciate them, and why. For an old-fashioned touch, write a hand-written letter that can be read over and over again. You could also tell them over a nice meal, or in the evening when you know they had a rough day.
By listing and communicating the things you appreciate about your partner, you’re re-establishing a bond built on respect, admiration, and acceptance. Instead of cutting down differences, you revel in them. Rather than focusing on small mishaps in the present, this exercise forces you to reflect on positive experiences in the past.
Drawing from the past to appreciate your partner in the present, however difficult that can be at times, makes it more likely you’ll boldly take on the future as a strong, supportive couple.
This guest post was contributed by Tammy Warner, on behalf of Christian dating organization. Tammy is a freelance writer and contributes to various websites. She enjoys writing about relationship issues and spirituality.