How do you show your spouse that you appreciate them? What does he/she do for you?
Dude, he married me. He should be grateful.
Kidding. We’ll almost always pick up something sweet for each other if either of us goes to a bakery or something, since we both have mad sweet tooths. But this question made me realize that we should do a better job of appreciating each other, and go above and beyond our normal division of responsibilities. For example, I cook. And while that’s a big thing that he should be ever stinking grateful for, I could do a little something special once in a while to brighten his day.
It has always been about untouchables for us. We’re not designer-stuff kind of people and we rarely give tangible presents for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, or our wedding. We take each other out to eat something new, however symbolic it is since it’s all the same money, but it still means something to us. He picks me up a dark-chocolate Reese’s PBCup (YUM) at the store as a surprise. We take “present” money and put it toward a trip we know we’re taking or a splurgey cocktail out.
And there’s good ol’ positive reinforcement. I try to compliment more than I scold and say thank-you. This is a biggie, I think; a lot of friends have expressed sadness not when you stop getting red roses, but when you stop hearing simple words like “thank you” and “I love you.”
Back when we were broke and in college we learned that it is all about the little day to day things that we do for each other. We each have those things that we hate to do so we take over whatever crappy task it is that the other person doesn’t want to do. Ya know, like being the one to get up first on a Saturday morning to make the coffee and tea.
To show appreciation to him, I will make a nice dinner. I cook so rarely that it’s definitely a treat for him. I’ll do a load of laundry and make a fancy (for us, nothing expensive) supper, and let him watch TV. A big treat for him is having his back scratched!
For me, he will take our daughter out for a while so I can nap, and buy me a little bit of candy or some ice cream he knows I like. Honestly, every single day he does everything for me, that I take that as “I’m so happy to have you and our family.” I try to reciprocate as much as possible, but sometimes I forget how much is done by him.
One of the best ways I think to show your thanks or admiration is to just say, “Thank you so much, for everything. I’ll love you forever.”
I think for us, communication is key. We’re pretty busy, but always remember to touch base at least for a few minutes. We’ll sit down at the table and eat dinner together. We’ll share a hug. We’ll try to remember to thank the other person for things they’ve done, and compliment them often. And sometimes I’ll just come right out and say “I appreciate you!” or “I’m glad to have you.”
And I admit it: I sabotage Mr. MJ’s diet to let him know he’s appreciated. If he’s having a bad day or I just feel like being nice, I’ll buy Mr. MJ his favorite candy bar, soda, or a meal or snack from a restaurant he likes. What can I say—we’re both the type to ‘eat’ our feelings!
Because we’re (broke) students at the moment, we show our appreciation for each other more through words and acts of service than gifts. Mr E often cooks dinner for me to show that he cares (by that time of the day I rarely have any energy left), and I love to make surprise desserts for him. Sometimes during the day I will get a random lovey-dovey text from Mr E, and that always makes me feel very appreciated. Things like back rubs, doing the other’s chores, or just taking a few minutes every night to talk about how our day was are also things we have discovered that make each other feel more appreciated.
I will admit that I feel like a lot of my expressions of gratitude for my husband are often lacking. After a long day of work, then working out, then cooking a nutritious meal for my husband, I often think, “Oh my god. Bow down at my feet, husband. Look at all this freaking bounty around you. Working wife, nutritious dinner. Bow the EFF down.” I need to get over myself a little bit sometimes and realize that my husband works equally hard, both in our household and to provide for us.
Mr. Peng is better at showing his gratitude toward me than I am toward him. He always initiates affection—hugs, kisses. I’m a little better at the verbal affection (I say that I love him out loud and email him love notes more often) but actions definitely speak louder than words, and Mr. Peng is good at making sure his wife is happy.
We show each other we appreciate each other by eating out. A lot. I know this sounds silly but eating out is a splurge that we both feel like is our gift to each other. Most of our special occasion gifts are treating each other to a restaurant that we wouldn’t otherwise spend the money on. Simply carving out time for the two of us, which seems extremely hard these days, is how we equally express gratitude and appreciation for each other.
Mr. Joey will take our dog Izzy out in the evening even if it’s my turn because it’s cold and wet and I’ve had a long day. He always has lunch ready for me when I come home from grocery shopping because he hates going so I never ask him to come with me.
If I know Mr. Joey is going to have a long week, I make extras of his favorite dinners for him to have for lunch. I also buy him little treats when I’m out like his favorite candy, or Thai Ice tea. When he makes dinner, I always tell him how good it is and thank really thank him for the effort even if he didn’t think it was very good.
Mr. Starfish and I do the little things to show each other that we appreciate each other. To start we say thank you when we do nice things for each other. It’s pretty basic, but it goes a long way. We also recognize how lucky we are. We are always doing little things for each other to make the other’s life easier, like he’ll do the dishes, which is my least favorite thing to do, or I’ll make him all of his lunches for the week and pack them in to-go containers. Even though these things have been really common in our relationship for the past few years, we still recognize it. We’re always saying stuff like “I’m the luckiest girl in the world,” or, “how’d I get so lucky?”
One of my favorite things (and I think Mr. Seashell would agree) is finding a sweet “love note” from one another. Sometimes he’ll write me a note and leave it in my lunch bag, or I’ll put a post-it on the fridge thanking him for something he did recently. We don’t to it all the time, but when we remember it feels especially special.
Him: Cooks me dinner, buys me food (even though we each have our own food budget/allowance), hugs hugs hugs, tells me he loves me.
Me: Tell him I love him. He doesn’t need much else. 🙂
Mr. Rainbow works really hard in an often thankless job, I honestly don’t know how he does it, so I try to show my appreciation in a lot of ways.
First and foremost, I tell him I appreciate him, which is important and often overlooked. A lot of times people are so busy trying to do things that show appreciation that they forget to say it. I send him random text messages with “I love you so much” or “I’m so lucky to have you” or “You’re my favorite.” I’ll cook him a nice meal and have it ready for him when he gets home from a particularly pain-in-the-ass day. Sometimes I’ll make his lunch the night before for work. I love to buy him little random things- a nice thermos to keep his coffee hot, a case for his sunglasses, etc. Just little inexpensive things that say “Hey, I’m always thinking about you.”
Mr. R shows me he appreciates me by working his ass off so I can pursue my dream career. He randomly brings me flowers or ice cream or my favorite candy bar. He tells me he loves me and will randomly mention how “sexy” I am while I’m doing something mundane like putting away groceries, doing the dishes, etc. Seriously, flattery is my favorite form of appreciation. I’m a total sucker.
We try to say thank you to each other when one does a task that the other hasn’t done/doesn’t want to do. Mr. Socks is wonderful about taking a lot of the menial tasks of day-to-day life without complaint, and I try to make a point of thanking him for it on a regular basis.
We’ll also ask pretty regularly if the other person needs anything. “Can I get you something to eat or drink?” Etc. I think just being conscientious that we should do things for each other and try to give equally makes us appreciate each other.
Showing appreciation to Mr. Dolphin for everything wonderful he does for me is something I try to do as much as possible. He is a very hardworking husband, working a 40 hour week job, another 10-20 hour week job on top of that, along with all these personal projects we seem to get ourselves into.
So, quite often, I show my appreciation in simple ways. I’ll give him a little hand massage after he’s worked a long night. I’ll bring him up a drink and snack (without him asking) while he’s working in the office. I’ll plan a special dinner, make a fun dessert. I’ll make him stop what he’s doing and I’ll grab his face and tell him that I love him.
I also never forget to say “Thank you.” Those simple words are so important. I’ll thank him out loud for taking me to a nice dinner, for tucking me in at night and turning on my night light (yes…I’m 12 years old), for doing the grocery shopping when I don’t want to…he’s just amazing and I always make sure he knows that I am forever thankful for what he does. 🙂
We try to show appreciation though actions, saying “thank you,” and doing things that show each other love. This ties a lot into individual love languages for us. Quality time and a date night means a lot to me. Well for him it can be buying something I know he needs or putting extra time into cleaning the house so we can relax and make dinner together. I really think it’s a lot of the little things that just remind each other that we love and appreciate one another.
I show Mr. Snow Pea I appreciate him by saying “Thank you.” It means a lot and I often forget how two little words can make a difference. He shows me he appreciates me by throwing out the trash without me asking.
We always show our appreciation verbally, by telling each other “thank you” for the little things, and by telling each other how much we love on another. But we both also do a lot of little things to show our appreciation. I know how much Mr. Cardigan likes to come home to a home-cooked meal, so I try to have dinner ready for him most nights when he gets home, and I bake him cookies often. I also try to keep the house relatively clean because, while I know the mess doesn’t bother him at all (which is why he doesn’t clean himself), he really loves having a clean house.
Mr. Cardigan shows me appreciation by doing all of the chores that I really hate. He gets up in the middle of the night to take the dogs out, makes last minute trips to the grocery store when we’ve forgotten something, and cleans up any messes the dogs make without any complaint.
We both are also big on sending random “I love you” texts throughout the day, and buying each other small surprises when we’re out – he buys me flowers pretty frequently, and I love to surprise him with candy bars when I go to the grocery store without him!
I think we show appreciation through affection most of the time, and we’re both very affectionate people. Lots of hugs, back scratches and random “I love you’s” work very well for us.
What I’m trying to work on is showing appreciation for things around the house. He wasn’t really expected to do chores growing up, and I’m not going to do all of the housework so I’ve had to teach him things, like how to clean a bath tub. So, my goal is to say, “thanks for loading the dishwasher,” not “this is how I would of loaded the dishwasher and how did you get so much water everywhere?” He’s trying and I need to be aware that that is what’s important.
And he does his best to show that he appreciates me moving to LA. He can sense when I’m down about my career (which definitely took a hit in the move) and he knows to give me an extra hug and let me know it will all work out in the end. But there are times when we just have to tell the other person what we need and we both try to do that. I just need to remember that he can’t read my mind!
Since the wedding, we’ve unconsciously become much better at showing appreciation for each other. We’ve got 1) spontaneous hugs, 2) gushing about how awesome our spouse is, 3) foot massages [for me] 4) buying M&Ms (for him). Sometimes it’s hard to remember to be appreciative for things that can go unnoticed, like cleaning the bathroom, or doing the dishes, so I have to remind myself (or he has to remind me!) to thank Mr. Pin Cushion for those things.
Last week, I came up with a new theory: a couple’s relationship could be much improved if the partners gave each other as many compliments as a person would give their dog (which has got to be twenty times a day…”good doggie!”). Just imagine how awesome you would feel if your spouse was telling you what a good wife/husband you were all the time!!
How do you show your appreciation for your spouse, and how does he/she do it for you?