Did you know that we need to have three positive experiences for every negative experience in our relationship to keep the feeling of love alive?
This is why expressing our positive feelings is so important.
But, what is that? What is a positive experience?
Far too often, we start to think it has to be a big gesture – dinner, trips, flowers, jewelry…
What if it’s a kiss on the cheek and a simple ‘thank you’?
What Appreciation Does To You
We all like appreciation, and it’s more than just someone recognizing your achievements. Your hormones play a huge part in why it feels so good to have another person say you did a good job.
In recent months, we’ve all heard how social media, especially the “Like” button, trigger the release of dopamine in the brain. Well, getting appreciation is similar.
When were appreciated for something we do, our brain releases a little dose of the feel-good hormone dopamine. Dopamine can be addictive and we want to feel good like that over and over. So, we start doing the thing that got us the appreciation in the first place. Hence, more dopamine.
And it goes beyond that. The person it comes from triggers different hormones along with dopamine. So from a supervisor, mentor, or someone you respect, you might get an additional burst of serotonin or epinephrine. That can make you feel motivated and energetic.
If that appreciation comes from a loved one, you already have different hormones at play to create an attachment. One of these hormones is oxytocin. When we receive appreciation from a loved one, it makes our brain release a little bit of oxytocin.
Oxytocin is the hormone that creates a strong connection between a mother and her newborn baby. But it’s not just newborn mothers that produce oxytocin – everybody does. And when we get that small amount of oxytocin from one person person repeatedly, we start forming a stronger and stronger bond with that person.
The stronger your bond, the more stable your relationship, and the closer you feel to eachother.
How Can You Appreciate Your Partner Every Day?
If your partner feels appreciated, they’ll feel successful at making you happy and are more likely to feel close to you and want to do more for you.
What can you appreciate them for daily?
You can appreciate them for little things:
- Are they a good financial provider?
- Is he/she a good father/mother?
- Do they do little things for you?
- Does he/she make any plans for you or the family?
- How is he or she meeting your needs, even if it’s in a small way?
And if you’re single, notice what happens to the mood when you appreciate your date for the things they are doing and saying and how it makes you feel.
So consider, do you have a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative experiences in your relationship? And how can you express more of your positive feelings when you have them?
Let’s look at how to put this into practice:
It’s simple to say, “I feel so happy when you ask me how my day went.” It goes a long way towards your partner hearing your challenging feelings without getting defensive.
If they do a simple chore, like taking out the trash or doing the dishes, say thank you and say why it makes you feel good they did that chore for you.
“Thanks for taking the trash out, I feel cleaner with a fresh bag.”
“Thank you for doing the dishes; it saved me time so I could take a much-needed break. I feel much better now.”
The basic formula is:
Thanks + Task Completed + What it provided for you.
I know most of you reading this are women, so let me put this in terms of the view from a masculine-energy person. Masculine-energy people want to succeed as providers. If they provide something that makes you feel good, they get the dopamine and oxytocin hit, and we talked before about how rewarding that is.
They start to associate doing things for you (aka providing) with feeling good and making you happy.
Why It’s So Hard To Let Them Do For You And Give Thanks
If your relationship is a little rocky or you’re a very independent person, sitting back and letting your partner do something for you can feel very awkward. But, that’s okay, start small.
It’s really up to you if you want to give them appreciation and help form stronger bonds or not. If you choose to do so, you can create a stronger relationship.
It does take a dedicated effort to do this. You have to consciously choose to find something to appreciate and say it.
I’m not going to lie to you, this is hard and it takes work. Your partner might even find it a little odd as you start. They may dismiss your appreciation or negate it.
But, after a little while, you will start to see the results. If it’s truly not meant to be, this won’t work. But I have years of experience and hundreds of clients showing that a little bit of appreciation can open up the pathways to communication, return warm feelings for each other, and even head off some arguments.
Since everyone is a little different, appreciation looks different in every relationship. So, you can start this today without any more advice just by saying thank you. And, if you want a little bit of help, we can work together to find what works for you and your partner to achieve the optimum results.
Marilyn Overton says
Valerie, this is such helpful advice as to how to show appreciation to those we love. Thank you!