Challenge Yourself: Appreciate Your Partner

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“Studies show that married people actually treat each other with less civility than they show to other people,” Gretchen Rubin, Happier at Home. The more I digest this quote the more I see it being true, at least in my home. It also presents the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself.

A personal challenge doesn’t always have to be a monumental task, like sailing around the world or opening your own etsy shop. Challenges are meant to push you a little, learn new things and perhaps discover a hidden talent. Some challenges can impact your marriage, in a good way.

Your challenge, should you accept it, is appreciate and respect your partner a little more.

I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s latest book Happier at Home. The whole book has a number of great ways to challenge yourself and your home life but this particular point raised within the chapter focusing on marriage really had me pondering. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking you totally appreciate your partner. I know I do. Or do I?

As Ms Rubin points out in her book, “I would never snap at a friend ‘Do we have to talk about this right now?’ or ‘Can’t you just do it?’ I wanted to stop speaking that way to [my husband].”

I started thinking about my communication with my husband. I realized that I do sometimes shoot out a quick quibble or roll my eyes when he makes a suggestion. Even the things I don’t say, like thanking him for taking the kids to school so I can attend a meeting or emptying the dishwasher in the morning so I don’t have to. If a friend had done something similar for me I’m sure I wouldn’t have thought twice about showing my appreciation.

I think after being together for so many years we get comfortable with each other. Home becomes a ‘free-to-be’ zone, without any need to pretend. We can get angry and upset and express how we feel. That’s one of the wonderful elements of home and family. But sometimes our comfort with our partner or even our kids can have us accepting that things just get done because that’s what family does. We feel we can just vent because it’s family and they’ll understand.

Sure, my husband has a parenting role to play in our home but that doesn’t mean I should not appreciate his help. If you look at it from your own perspective, isn’t it nice when your husband offers up a simple thank you for a meal you prepared? Don’t you feel like your point is being considered when you’re not interrupted or the kids roll their eyes at you? We all like to feel appreciated, even for the little things we do everyday.

Next time your partner does something routine for you, thank him. Let him know you’re not taking him for granted. Thank the kids for clearing the table, even if it is part of their evening chores. Try to avoid rolling your eyes when a family member makes a suggestion that you don’t agree with. Sometimes our actions done in haste have us missing a connection. Perhaps your family will catch on and reciprocate the appreciation your way.

And thank you for reading. Are you up for the challenge?

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