Question: “I often feel unappreciated by my spouse. What can I do to get them to take more notice and show more appreciation for me?”
Newlyweds may not believe there will ever come a day that you don’t adore and cherish your spouse like you do today. But it may happen as you get used to each other. Read on:
That’s a great question. and frankly, a very common one. We all feel under appreciated every now and then. Especially at those very busy times of life when there is so much going on and you take on extra tasks, whether at work or at home, that an extra kind word or even a “thank you” would mean so much more.
The first thing I would recommend is to talk to your spouse. We often get busy with day to day life and don’t realize that we’ve stopped doing things like telling your wife that she looks pretty today, or thanking your husband for filling up the car again, like he does every single week. I can’t tell you how important this is. Ladies, with all love and respect for our men, let’s face it, they’re pretty aloof and sometimes just need to be told.
You get what you give. Ask yourself when the last time was that you showed appreciation to your spouse. If you’re not showing it to him or her, they will be less likely to return the kindness. Think about it, how much easier is it to tell someone thank you for all they do when they tell you how much you are appreciated all the time.
Ask yourself what you’re really wanting. Is it that you need to be appreciated or is it that you’re simply taking on to much?
Here’s the moment of truth and brutal honesty. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to ask for help. I shoulder it all and then some. Then wonder why no one is helping me.
I’ll work all day, then come home and cook dinner, then do the dishes, then start on the laundry, then change the sheets on the bed then…..you get the idea. Next thing I know I’m grumbling to myself about, “Why am I the only one who does anything around here? Don’t they know that I worked all day too?!?”
Then I’m in a bad mood and when Jeremy asks me, “Are you okay?” I’m so crabby that I just snap, “I’m fine”.
It’s okay to ask for help. You’re not Superwoman or Superman. (Although we all secretly wish we could fly). You’re not in a marriage to go it alone; you’re in this together. Help each other out and you’ll find that you are much more appreciated than you ever knew.
I have one last addendum on this one for the husbands.
Guys- if you have young kids at home, tell your wife how much you appreciate everything she does. It’s a HARD job with no lunch breaks and I promise you, she’s not getting any sleep on top of it. If she works outside the home, that means she’s got about three full time jobs.
It’s REALLY important that you tell her how much you appreciate her and everything she does each day.
One of the real challenges couples face when you’re together for a long period of time is simply keeping things fresh and remembering to look at your spouse with “new eyes”.
I’m reminded of an old saying that applies here: “Familiarity breeds contempt.”
When you first enter a new relationship, everything is shiny new and “sizzle” and excitement, but over time, that incredible person you are madly in love with has body odor, morning breath, and an annoying list of personal habits and quirks that were endearing the first 100 times, but not nearly so now.
I want to write my answer to the guys who are reading, but you ladies, take note, too.
Men: something I’ve observed, both in my personal life as well as the marriages of many friends and family members, that you must remember:
When a relationship is going well, men get comfortable and women get bored.
And by “comfortable”, let’s just go ahead and say, “lazy”.
Ladies, a man who is really comfortable in the relationship has a tendency to let himself go, get a little (or a lot) chubby, not look his best every day, not even get dressed on weekends, etc. He’ll forget special events, get lazy about date nights, stop bringing flowers home…
There is a reason so many people relate to sitcoms like, “Married, With Children”. They live it.
I’m suddenly reminded of one morning a couple of years ago that I was gassing up at the local convenience store late one morning. At the pump next to me was a woman in her early 30’s, staring blankly into the morning sky while she fueled her car. She was by no means an unattractive woman; you could tell she certainly could be a knockout if she was dressed well and made up for a night out.
But here she was, frumpy gray sweats, no makeup, hair frizzy and unkept. And what I noticed most was the just general sense of unhappiness and gloom about her. I actually glanced at her left hand, because I knew she was going to be married. She was.
Guys, before me was a beautiful woman who had forgotten that she was beautiful. And why? Because she and her husband were in a rut; probably married 8 years or so, probably with small kids. And now they were going through the daily motions of being Mom and Dad.
She looked like a shell of a former, happier version of herself. I bet it had been 6 months or more since they had a night out alone. I bet it had been months since her husband told her she was beautiful and that he was a lucky man to have her, or treated her to a spa or had given her a massage.
This woman had lost her value, lost her spark, and now she’d simply stopped trying.
That’s on us, guys.
It certainly doesn’t have to be that way.
I could write volumes on this subject, but as this is a Q&A, let me try to answer the question directly.
Guys: your woman loves attention – she wants to know she’s the center of your world and that you still love her and find her attractive. So show her. Do the same things you did when you were dating, and I promise you, the old feelings will resurface in time.
Don’t wait to be nagged about your anniversary. Don’t be one of the herd of lazy morons picking through the scraps of Hallmark cards at noon on Valentine’s Day like pigs at a trough. She’s worth you getting the card, candy and flowers a day ahead, isn’t she?
Get your butt to the gym and stay in good shape. Take 15 seconds – just FIFTEEN seconds – each day and notice something about her you haven’t seen before (or in many years), and then TELL HER.
Women need affirmation more than we do (and we do need it).
Ladies: Kari is a list-maker. She has lists of her lists. She’s tenacious (it’s actually a trait I wish I had more of). Most women I know are the same way, to one degree or another.
Because it’s easy for you to make lists, be very careful you’re not making a list of all the things he does that annoys you or irritates you. Don’t keep a record of every grievance. We’re guys; prone to skip over the sentimental and miss the subtle.
We won’t notice that your hair is an inch shorter than it was this morning. We seldom pay attention to what people are wearing (unless it’s really unusual). And we probably won’t take the hint.
But one thing most men live for, is to be somebody’s hero.
Ladies, work hard to appreciate what your man does for you, and let him know you noticed. Thank him for things he does around the house, or the long hours and hard work he puts in to provide for the family. Pretty yourself up for him from time to time, and then (because we’re dense like this), tell him you did and that you wanted to look your best for him.
I promise you, we men lap that stuff up. Just as you want to feel validated and important to him, he loves finding out that you admire and respect him for the things he does.
We have to appreciate and celebrate each other, to each other, folks. Because if we don’t show our spouses affirmation and sincere gratitude, we risk that someone else will.
I have a feeling Kari and I are going to have to tackle this subject in greater depth than this format is going to allow today, but for now, let’s leave it with this:
Make a decision to notice something about each other every day (ladies, you can even write it down). Then, honestly and sincerely, share it with your spouse. It doesn’t have to be flowery. You don’t have to be able to recite Shakespeare or Byron (though my lucky lady has a man who can), but you do have to be honest. People can smell flattery a mile away.
Keep it simple, keep it honest, and keep it regular.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!