Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well (Voltaire)

be-grateful
be-grateful

So now that you have mastered the looking immac for your man at the end of the week, your completely balanced in domestic bliss with your husband/family/work/life balance (refer to my last two Thursday musings), I thought I'd blog about appreciation...albeit what I've learned the hard way...

It has been said that being taken for granted can be a compliment.  It means that you've become a comfortable, trusted element in another person's life (J. Brothers).  But can that be taken too far…?  This got me thinking about my relationship: is it ok to take your partner for granted…?  Can I do this without my partner feeling that he is taken for granted…?

So what exactly do I mean by that riddle...?

When we are in a relationship we always want to rest assured that our other half is there for us, to lean on, depend upon, keep us in check, to be our sounding block and our biggest ally amongst many other things...In fact, I would go as far as to say that I should expect it of my man…But at the same time, I should not take him for granted.  It is that balance that is achieved by showing appreciation. By demonstrating appreciation it soothes what can feel like the burn of the relentless expectation we place on our significant other… So, do you tell him and show him how much he is appreciated…? Not only for the things I have just mentioned but for all of the other every-day, mundane things he is and does…?...In our appreciation, do we appreciate him in a way he wants or needs to be appreciated…?..have you ever asked him…? Or do we just assume he wants to be appreciated for the things that we in fact appreciate…? (I know I've just said appreciate a lot of times.)

I have to set the scene a little here…This convo presupposes that each of us, and our relationships – at least in some broad sense – falls into stereotypes at some level.  I don’t mean this in a negative, old fashioned or chauvinistic way.  I am simply generalizing about the practical realities of the broad roles that we assume in a relationship…this is not one size fits all…each of us has our own story…this is just a little insight into mine and my take on it. So there we go…

Matt and I started this conversation recently.  When we started talking about it, my going-in assumption was that men, Matt included, really like to be appreciated for the things they do that are typically “outside of the box" for a man... For example, making the bed; cooking dinner without hints or prompts; turning on the dishwasher.  Wrong.   After talking a little more it became clear that these are things that I appreciate…There's a difference... As we talked some more, Matt ended up by telling me that in fact he “like[s] to be appreciated for going to work and providing for our family", which he does exceptionally well…To my relief that is something that I regularly and sincerely thank and appreciate him for…but that being said, I wasn't quite on the right track... It is important to say that I don’t mean those things I appreciate him for are not important.  Far from it.  I want him to do those things.  I love it when he does.  What I mean is that we always need to keep the context and perspective in our appreciation (and on the flip side, those things where we feel someone might be taking us for granted) such that we do not overemphasize things which are really important to us, only to completely miss the thing – which may after all be quite simple – that he wanted all along…

And before you think, this is all about him, this also got me thinking: what do I want to be appreciated for…?  Is it making sure my family gets out of the door every morning before 7am, dressed smartly and ready for the day; or is it for getting up at 5am for a PT session...?  Is this something I just expect him to get out of gazing into his crystal ball …? (of course, he has one)  Or, rather, should I let him know so that he can give appreciation for what I need…?

The upshot is that in any relationship it is about taking some things for granted, but balancing it with a healthy dose of appreciation.  In doing that it is definitely about appreciating your man for the things that you are grateful to him for.  That is so important.  But equally important and more satisfying, it is about finding out what he wants to be appreciated for…understand and use that knowledge.   If you ask him he may say to be appreciated at all would be nice; he may not have an answer at all… Either way, ask him to think about it. Then you'll know…

Who knows.  He may even ask you too...

Piper x

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