Relationship experts often talk about characteristics of two groups: RELATIONSHIP MASTERS and RELATIONSHIP DISASTERS.
In this blog series I’ll be highlighting some tips that can help you and your partner look, feel and behave like RELATIONSHIP MASTERS -- creating relationships that are CONNECTED, SECURE, and STRONG and make both of you feel that your relationship is your most powerful and valuable asset.
RELATIONSHIP MASTER TIP #1: The Power of AFFECTION, APPRECIATION, and ADMIRATION
From the time we are newborn babies, physical affection helps us thrive in the world. In our adult relationships physical affection allows our nervous system relax, facilitates non verbal (right brain to right brain) connection, and helps us feel secure in our attachment to our partner. In short, physical affection is one way that we express love and feel loved.
One way to strengthen your marriage and feel more connected to your partner, without saying a word, is to increase the amount of physical affection you show him or her. I’m not about talking sex and intimate touch right now. I’m talking about holding hands, hugging, shoulder rubs, quick kisses on the lips, putting arms around shoulders, laying hands on a knee, etc.
Our romantic relationships often start out with a great deal of physical affection. When I see couples for premarital counseling they are nearly always holding hands, sitting closely, or constantly touching each other in some way or another. As our relationships mature, we often lose the habit of reaching out to touch our partner. The reasons we do this are complicated (and can be explored in couples counseling). We may fear rejection, we may have acquired habits from past instances of feeling hurt, unappreciated, or unseen by our partner, we might feel overly rushed or tired, or we may be taking our partner for granted.
*Connected Couple Tip:
Try using the “Welcome Home Hug” to reconnect with your partner.
Click HERE to Read my blog describing the WELCOME HOME HUG exercise.
Gratitude is a buzz word lately. We all know that we should have a “gratitude practice” in order to increase our own happiness, success, etc, etc,. But did you know that increasing the appreciation you show to your partner can have a remarkable effect on your marriage?
We all love to feel appreciated, yet we can be stingy in the way we express appreciation for others. Relationship Masters are liberal with their appreciation. They NOTICE the things (big and small) that their partner does and they express this appreciation REGULARLY. They say thank you, they write notes or texts of appreciation, they give tokens appreciation, and they don’t take their partner's actions for granted. Very importantly, masters realize that it doesn’t cost them anything to show their appreciation, even if the action of their partner is something that is expected or “normal.” Appreciating even the most mundane behaviors of our partner make them feel valued, seen, and loved.
Along with showing their appreciation, masters don’t keep score. When both partners appreciated and valued, there is an easy give and take. It is ok for one partner to depend on the other. They trust that throughout their relationship there will be times when each partner is needy and vulnerable and these times are opportunities for the other partner to show their love and loyalty, and in turn receive appreciation and gratitude.
*CONNECTED COUPLE TIP:
If you feel stuck finding things to be appreciative to your partner about, spend more time noticing what they do (and less time focusing on all the things you do). Be curious. Think about what your partner does to make your life better and acknowledge those things. Also, make sure you are allowing opportunities for you partner to do things for you. And remember, the more you acknowledge, the more your partner will enjoy doing things for you!
Admiration means to consider someone with warm respect and approval. Some couples seem to think it is cheesy or over the top to express admiration for their partners, but Relationship Masters don't, or they don’t care. And truly, why shouldn’t we cultivate and express admiration for this one special person who we are sharing our life with with?
Relationship masters admire their partners and let their partners know about it. We can admire big things or little things about our partners: They way they interact with their children, how they handle stressful situations, their athletic prowess, their cooking skills, their friendships, etc. When we show our partner that we not only love them, but admire them and are proud of them, it builds trust, respect, and mutual positive regard.
Admiration is not jealousy. When we feel jealous of a person, we find it difficult to express positive feelings towards them, we feel resentment, and we feel bad about ourselves. When we feel admiration, we want to celebrate that person, we feel inspired by them, and we feel good about ourselves for choosing such a great person to be in our lives. Admiration is a win-win for our relationships.
*Connected Couple Tip:
Try telling a friend something you admire about your partner. See what it feels like to talk about your partner in this way, to be proud of them. Do you think your partner knows you feel this way? How can you let him or her know?
That’s it: AFFECTION, APPRECIATION AND ADMIRATION. The three A’s of masterful relationships. Do you have questions or comment’s about how to cultivate affection, appreciation and admiration in your relationship? Give me a call.
Want to start cultivating the traits that will make you into a relationship master? Contact me today. I LOVE helping people transform their relationships and creating connection from conflict and confusion.