In Dr. Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, chapter 5 teaches a principle called “Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration”. An exercise in this chapter called for my husband and I to share things we appreciate about each other. This was an easy task for me because I found there to be endless possibilities of things I appreciate. In my little family, my husband is the only source of income, he helps with the household chores, is an active and participating father, and he is supportive. I am keenly aware not all are as lucky as I am to have such a partner. However, as I shared the things I appreciate, I somehow found it strange to say it out loud. Sadly, in spite of his excellence, my husband was unaware of how grateful I am for all that he does because I don’t typically tell him. Because of this, he feels unappreciated and like his efforts are all for naught. Obviously, I assured him this wasn’t the case.
After completing this exercise, I was doubly surprised by how many things I continually thought of over the next few days that I admire and appreciate about him. While I was less quick to anger, and felt happier about these realizations, I quickly slipped back into the habit of keeping these thoughts to myself. It is a shame people are so quick to vocalize their frustrations and slow to outwardly praise. Surely I am not the only person who suffers of this problem, or it wouldn’t be the second principles in one of Gottman’s books. Nurturing this fondness and expressing admiration is crucial for our loved ones to feel appreciated and loved. Doing this can help solidify an already great relationship as well as heal those that have lost their spark and even those that are troubled. In addition, it helps build good communication skills. When kind words are communicated often, it is likely you will get the same in return. So, tell your loved one why you love them, and tell them often!