If you’re in a serious romantic relationship and you’re not complimenting your partner every day, you’re missing the low-hanging fruit. Relationships are hard work, but this part can be easy–if you let it.
So your spouse can’t keep a job. This is a problem. But your spouse also makes the world’s best lasagna. This isn’t a problem. Complimenting your spouse’s lasagna isn’t a sign of weakness or “giving in.” Telling your spouse he’s a genius with lasagna doesn’t mean you’re saying ” . . . and because of that, I’m perfectly okay with you never holding a job for more than 6 months.”
Positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement. This is a scientific fact. Praising your kid for bringing home an A simply works better than yelling at her for bringing home a D. Negative reinforcement has its place, but only when used alongside positive encouragement.
If you’re frustrated with your child, or thinking about leaving your romantic partner, you may not feel a lot of gratitude toward them. Express it anyway.
Appreciating your life, and the imperfect people in it, is a habit you have to cultivate. Say “thank you” to the rude waiter when he brings you a cup of coffee. Leave a lousy tip if you want, but at least verbally recognize when someone does something to make your life just a little bit easier–even when they do it with a bad attitude.
Here’s a few phrases you might want to use more often:
- Thanks for working so hard every day.
- You look great.
- I really appreciate your picking up the groceries.
- Thanks for getting the car repaired.
- I really enjoy having breakfast with you every morning.
- I’ve noticed you speaking in a calm voice lately, and I really appreciate it.
- You’re really responsible with money.
- You’re always on time, and I admire that.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.