By Katie J. Trent, Crosswalk.com
In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to get so caught up in the doing that we disconnect from our spouse. There’s always a task that needs to be completed and a plethora of things and people vying for our attention. We get into our routines and, somewhere along the way, forget to communicate—not just schedules and needs, but the important things, like how much they mean to us and why we appreciate them.
It can be challenging to show my spouse consistently that I appreciate what he does. I don’t know about you, but I am pretty good at expressing and demonstrating my appreciation for other people in my life, whether it’s my kids, coworkers, people at church, even the clerk at the grocery store. Unfortunately, sometimes I neglect to put that same effort into sharing how much I love, value, and appreciate my spouse and all he does.
My husband works full-time to provide for us so I can homeschool our two children. He also cooks dinner almost every night (I am a terrible cook, and, thankfully, he loves to cook) and helps in countless other ways every day with the kids, household, various projects, and so much more. After 16 years of marriage, it’s easy to fall into our routines and take for granted the many ways my spouse blesses me every day, which is why I’ve started being more intentional with showing my spouse how much I appreciate him.
Here are seven simple ways to let your spouse know how much you value them:
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Bernardbodo
1. Say It
Our words matter. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21 ESV). I’ll never forget the first time I used my words to hurt my spouse. I don’t remember what I said (or even what we were fighting about), but the pained expression on his face is something I’ll never forget.
The moment reminded me how powerful my opinion is for my spouse. As our most intimate relationship, our spouse trusts and relies on us in a way they don’t with others. So, when we take time to intentionally tell them how much we appreciate them, those words fill empty places in their soul that no one else has access to. Each day, we have the opportunity to create connection with our spouse by choosing to use our words to build them up. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24 ESV) It may be a small gesture, but it can have the most significant impact on our spouse and our relationship.
2. Physical Affection
Our spouses need us to show our love in physically affectionate ways. A hug, kiss, hand squeeze, massage, and physical intimacy all help us express our love and appreciation for our spouse. Physical touch has been shown to lead to better health, less stress, improved relationships, and emotional well-being.1 Physical affection keeps us connected to our spouse on a deeper level than we have with anyone else, which is why it is essential not to neglect it.
3. Leave a Note
One of the ways we can express our appreciation to our spouses is by leaving a little note, whether it’s on the fridge, in a lunch, by text, email, or hand-written card. Written expression of our appreciation can go far in reminding our spouses of all of the things we notice and how much we value them. It can also become a memento for them to treasure later on.
4. Lighten Their Load
I do not doubt that each of you has a ton on your plate. I know my husband and I both do too. The good news is that means there is no shortage of things you could do to lighten your spouse’s load and show your appreciation. When my husband does the laundry for me or scrubs out the tub so I can take a hot bath, those little gestures speak volumes. When I was working on my first book, James stepped up and took on many of my responsibilities around the house to give me more time to focus on writing and publishing Dishing up Devotions. This truly meant more to me than anything else he could have done in that season. It showed me that he saw how hard I was working, believed in what I was doing, and appreciated me. I couldn’t have made it through that busy season without his help.
5. Brag on Your Spouse
Have you ever been in the room when a couple puts one another down in conversation? Not only is it extremely awkward for the bystanders, but it is also incredibly painful and dishonoring for their spouse. In a saturated social media world, it’s good to remember that people don’t need to know all of our frustrations or our spouse’s failings. So, while it is important to use our words privately to build up our spouse, it is even more essential to build our spouse up in public. It’s incredible what it does for your marriage when you can brag about your spouse around others. It helps to be sincere and specific when bragging on them. For example, I try to take the time to praise my husband’s cooking when he’s prepared a meal for friends and to express appreciation when he’s done something to help out at an event.
6. Spend Quality Time Together
There are so many ways to spend time together. Putting in the effort to make your time special can bring you closer in many ways. Think about the things your spouse enjoys, and make an effort to do those together. This shows that their opinions and interests matter to you and that you appreciate who they are. The gift of time is one of the most precious gifts we have to give. Meaningful time together matters.
Find out what your spouse’s downtime looks like and use it as an opportunity to connect. They might enjoy watching Netflix or playing video games, while you might prefer to spend time reading books or doing crafts. Doing what they like means a lot. You can also try cooking together or gardening, perhaps even doing something new together—all of this will help you feel appreciated in return!
7. Give Them a Gift
Gifts are an excellent way of showing appreciation for one another. With the right gift, you can show gratitude for someone on any occasion. As you pay attention to your spouse, you will find lots of little gifts you could give to show how much you appreciate them. Gifts are my primary love language, so when my husband takes the time to get me a thoughtful little gift, that communicates more to me than most other expressions of love. And the gifts don’t have to be extravagant to get your point across. A little something can go a long way.
Regardless of how you choose to show your spouse appreciation, make sure you’re taking time every day to express your gratitude for your spouse. Mix it up and make it personal, and watch your relationship improve.