Archive for April, 2011

Appreciation

A friend of mine posted the following comment on facebook, ironically right after a post indicating that her relationship status went from “in a relationship” (of several years) to “it’s complicated” to “single.”

“i would love to hear my friends–those in great relationships/marriages and those who hope to be in one someday–share what are the things that your partner does (or you want them to do) to make you feel loved and appreciated.”

 

Here was my response, which took up about 1,847 comment posts to fit it all in the allotted space.

I am writing in part because I am intrigued by your comment about what people do to make others feel appreciated, particularly in light of the relationship status change.  I’m curious why you posted that question.  In any event, I have been thinking about it and wanted to write you a few things on the topic.

I agree with the commenter who mentioned the Five Love Languages.  I highly recommend that book, or at least a perusal of the website (www.5lovelanguages.com).  It seems that a lot of conflict in relationships comes from disparate love languages (um, or character issues . . . ).  I feel extremely appreciated by Smith because we (miraculously) have all the same love languages, in the same order.  He showers me with hugs and affection, our quality time is meaningful and I feel very connected to him, and he gives me lots of words of affirmation.  Those are our top 3, in that order. 

Additionally, he respects me and treats me as an equal, and that is huge to me.  He confides in me and treats me as his best friend.  He does so many little things for me.  Over the weekend, we stopped at QT, and I used the bathroom while he got a fountain beverage (some extreme-caffeine concoction he came up with).  I met him outside when I was done and he asked if I had wanted something to drink.  I don’t normally get soft drinks, but I was tired and thirsty, so I told him I wanted a Diet Dr Pepper in a kids’ cup.  Keep in mind that he usually gets the 44 oz. drinks, so carrying a teeny 12 oz kids’ cup is probably a blow to his manhood.  But he let me sit in the car while he went back inside and got my drink.  It is a small thing, but he does thousands of things like this.  I have never in my life been treated this way by a guy (hence, it makes me appreciate him immensely, and he likes feeling appreciated because that’s what men want, and that motivates him to keep doing things like that).  Another thing I’ve learned, while we’re on the subject, is that it is the man’s role to do the things that make a woman feel special and valued, and it is the woman’s role to be receptive to and appreciate his efforts (rather than the woman trying to always DO for the man).  If you think about it, this is our physical/physiological role as well (men as pursuer, woman as receiver).    We were designed this way, with different but equally important roles.

None of these things is necessarily the root of having a good relationship, though.  I am not sure where your beliefs lie, and I don’t want to preach.  I used to “believe in God” but didn’t have a real understanding of Him.  Over the past 5 years or so, I have come into a deeper understanding of and relationship with Him.  I personally feel that He brought Smith into my life and intended for us to be each others’ spouse and best friend, and because of that, He equips Smith to appreciate me (and show the appreciation), and He equips me to appreciate and respect Smith.  In other words, I think the heart behind the actions (in this case, God’s will/intent and enabling us to love each other well) is the important part, not the actions themselves.   I will also say that prior to a few years ago, I never saw a marriage that I would consider good or something that I would want to commit to for the rest of my life.  But among those with a strong relationship with God, there seems to be an abundance of loving, deep, intimate marriages, even after 20, 40, 60 years.

What makes a great relationship to you, and how do you or your partner feel appreciated?

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