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I’ve often heard moms, in particular stay-at-home moms, mention that they aren’t being appreciated enough by their spouses. I’ve also heard countless responses (and read lots of articles) that talk about the importance of being appreciated and what husbands / kids can do to show appreciation for all the things these moms do.

This same advice can be applied in marriage. Husbands and wives should be thankful and appreciative of their spouse—more often. I added the more often part because I bet that most of you reading this are already appreciative of your spouse, but perhaps there’s also room for improvement.  Here’s what I mean.

I’ll admit that I’m not always appreciative of my husband–at least not as much as I could be. For instance, (1) there are days when I tell my husband how much I appreciate him… These are our Leave It To Beaver moments! (2) There are days when I appreciate the things my husband does to make my life easier…but I just don’t tell him that. I’m not sure why. I figure he already knows how I feel anyways. (3) There are days when my husband’s less than desirable qualities overshadow his desirable qualities and I am clearly not appreciative of anything at that moment.

I know I should be doing more of #1! But I don’t. Why? Well, the reasons vary. I may be tired. I may be in a bad mood myself. My husband may be in a bad mood. We may have gotten into an argument. I may just not feel like it because of all of the aforementioned reasons. In other words, I’m human; I act less than an ideal at times. Not a cop-out, just a fact.

But here’s the thing to keep in mind. Everyone needs to feel appreciated. In marriage, this is so, so very important. When one spouse feels under-appreciated, things go awry. And the crazy part is, you may not even realize this until they tell you so. I didn’t even realize this until my husband and I have both alluded to the fact that we didn’t feel appreciated by the other for one reason or another. Of course at this point the listener goes on damage control and tells the speaker that they are in fact appreciated… but I don’t like the idea of responding after-the-fact to things. Like in all areas of my life, I’d rather be proactive (or at least I do my best to be proactive). And proactive means telling my husband how appreciative I am of him so he doesn’t think otherwise (and vice versa). Citing examples of what specifically he does — the little things or the big things — is even better. (It shows I’m not just parroting empty marriage advice.) It’s funny too, to see my husband’s reaction when I do tell him how much I appreciate him, because it catches him off guard at first but then he appreciates me for saying it. It’s a nice feeling. 🙂

Be proactive in your marriage too! Be appreciative of your spouse. Better yet, tell them how much you appreciate them. Specifically cite examples. I really appreciate when you do _____, or even, Thanks for doing _____. I really appreciate it!  By doing so, you ensure you have a spouse who feels appreciated and who more than likely, will reveal their appreciation of you in return. And remember, an appreciated spouse always makes for a happier spouse! 🙂