The Key To A Successful Relationship May Be All About Appreciation

A healthy relationship consists of many things –- trust, honesty, respect, communication, unconditional love. But we often forget about appreciation, another crucial aspect that helps maintain a long-lasting love. It feels good to know that the effort we put into our relationships is being noticed and cherished. In fact, experts on love and relationships highly encourage partners to share words of appreciation with each other. 

No one's perfect, and sometimes we get stuck on our mistakes and those of our partners. Maybe they didn't ask how your important meeting went or maybe you didn't thank them for running an errand for you. Sometimes, we mess up — but rather than focusing on the negative, it's important that there's an overall atmosphere of gratitude with your partner, both given and received. When we're acknowledged in this way, it makes us want to continue the goodness that we send out to the world. Whether you just started dating someone new or you want to reignite the spark in your long-term relationship, a little gratitude can truly go a long way. After all, who doesn't love to feel appreciated?

The importance of appreciation

Appreciation has been a hot topic in the realm of psychology. A 2020 study in the Current Psychology journal, for instance, found feeling appreciated and expressing appreciation in your marriage is associated with higher marital satisfaction. World-renowned psychologists and relationship experts Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, have studied over 40,000 couples throughout the past 50 years. They've also been married for over 35 years. In their many years of research, they've noticed that the overwhelming trend in successful relationships is a sense of mutual appreciation, according to their CNBC article. They've found that "thank you" is the number one phrase in successful, healthy relationships.

Everyone deserves to feel appreciated for the things they do. Letting our loved ones know that their efforts are being seen allows our relationships to flourish. When there's a lack of mutual appreciation, this can breed resentment among partners. If you're consistently going above and beyond to make your partner happy but not hearing at least a "thank you," this could be a sign of an asymmetric relationship (where one person is putting more effort in than the other). But this doesn't make a relationship doomed to fail. It just means you might need to have an open and honest conversation about how this makes you feel. 

Going beyond a simple 'thank you'

Appreciation and gratitude can come in many forms. Saying "thank you" is the first step, but there are more ways to let people know you cherish their presence in your life. Asking your partner's advice during a tough time might let them know that you appreciate their opinions and trust that they have your best interests in mind. Consulting them when making a big life decision or a new change tells them that you value their time.

If you live together, one of the best ways couples can show appreciation to each other is by making sure there's an even division of household tasks, so there isn't too much falling on one person's shoulders. Asking each other about how the day went, always remembering special dates like anniversaries, birthdays, and important holidays, and occasionally surprising them with romantic gestures are ways of saying "thank you" that speak louder than words. 

This can apply to all relationships in your life, not just in the context of romance. When you can, let your family, friends, and coworkers know that you appreciate who they are and what they do. And you should be receiving the appreciation you deserve, too.