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  • Dr. Teresa Edwards

Attitude of Appreciation

It's the small moments of connection, thankfulness, fondness, and appreciation that can make or break a relationship. A lot of people focus on the big, grand gestures, but then neglect the day to day moments of connection that create an overall positive feeling between two people. While the big, grand gestures are nice, they don't mean a whole lot if there isn't a feeling of closeness and fondness in the relationship on a daily basis.

Gottman Fondness and Appreciation

When I see couples for counseling, I generally ask them if they can list 10 small, specific behaviors that they do throughout the week to make their partner feel loved, appreciated, and admired. Many times, especially if a couple has been married for awhile, this isn't something they've thought about. Or, if they can name things they do to show their partner that they care, they aren't sure if those behaviors actually convey love to their partner.

It's important that we know what behaviors make our partners feel loved and that we're doing those things on a daily basis. It's also important that we know what behaviors make us feel loved, and are able to clearly communicate those to our partners. This nurtures feelings of commitment and trust in a relationship. It also creates an overall positive atmosphere between partners that can get them through the occasional disagreement, selfish moment, or oversight.

Examples of small, love communicating behaviors might include:

  • Kissing before parting for the day and again when reuniting after a time away

  • Holding hands while in public

  • Texting during the day to check in and encourage each other

  • Telling your partner what characteristics you admire about them

  • Noticing what your partner does right and thanking them for it

  • Putting the phone down or turning the TV off when talking to each other

  • Complimenting your partner on their appearance

I encourage you to take some time to figure out what small behaviors speak love to you and to ask your partner what specific, small behaviors you can do to speak love to them. Building an attitude of appreciation in your relationship is well worth the effort.

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