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Appreciating Your Partner During COVID

Well, this pandemic has really impacted many different aspects of everyone’s lives — health, family, friends, careers, childcare, income, housing, and many more things…even relationships. Most of us are completely out of our routines and that may even include the way that you are connecting with your partner. For instance, maybe you’re not comfortable with having babysitters come into your home to have time away with your significant other. Or you’re used to having dinner and a movie as a regular date night, and that’s not an option anymore. These changes can make us feel a little disconnected.

Some couples thrived being stuck at home with each other while others aren’t sure what to do. Either way, just about every household was placed in an abnormal situation in some way or other during this past year. So if you’re a couple that didn’t “thrive” during this time, that’s okay. One of the ways you can create change is by building appreciation within your relationship with your partner.

Four Quick Tips to Help  Build Appreciation for Your Partner

  • Speak up and say it out loud. How often do you actually let your partner know that you appreciate them for something specific that they did? Creating a sense of appreciation for your partner should be vocalized. Often. We want our partner to know they are valuable and that we have noticed and recognized something good in them. You know when you get positive feedback and praise from your boss? You feel good. You want to show up to work. You want to work harder most of the time, too. Now apply that to your relationship with your partner. It’s very similar. Also, the more specific you are with sharing this, the better. It can sound like, “Hey, I really appreciate you ____” or “I’ve noticed lately that you _____. Thanks! I really appreciate you doing that.” Even giving compliments to your partner helps build appreciation.
  • Random acts of kindness. Yes, this is similar to the phrase that you’ve been hearing on and off your entire life or maybe something your parents or school stressed to you growing up. But it still stands true in relationships. If you’re able to display a random act of kindness, not only does your partner appreciate you for doing so, but more importantly, it sends the underlying message “I’m thinking about you.” This could be something simple, such as grabbing your partner’s favorite candy bar on your way home from work, making your partner’s first cup of coffee to start the day, doing a chore that you usually do not enjoy just to take that task off your partner’s list.
  • Get touchy-feely. Yes, we all like our personal space at times and I respect that. But there are also times when we like to feel a connection with our partner through touch as well. There are times that I randomly ask my husband for a hug because I need a connection in that way. He used to just want to hug and separate, such as how you would greet relatives. Then, I would have to tell him “Nope, that’s not long enough” or “I need more.” Now, he knows that when I ask for a hug, it needs to be for at least 10 full seconds, but we usually hold each other longer. So… hug often, and long. Other ways may look like sitting close on the couch, reaching for your partner’s hand, or giving a passionate kiss (or at least a 6-second kiss as John Gottman’s research suggests!).
  • Be silly. In the right moments, being silly can build connection and appreciation in a relationship. It often makes us focus on that very moment we share with our partner. Laughter can lighten you and your partner’s mood and help ease tension if needed. This can be done through sharing jokes, pointing out a funny thing that happened to you, opening up about something ridiculous that you contributed to and sharing it, etc. It can be even reflecting with your partner. For instance, there are times where my husband and I will swap those random, hilarious shared memories from our past.

Again, these are just a few things that you can incorporate in your relationship each day or throughout the week to build a sense of appreciation for your partner which you may not have been able to express the way you wanted due to the pandemic. If you’re needing more assistance individually or as a couple, please feel free to contact our office at 616-929-0248 or shoot us a message


About the author:

Rosann Raftery is a counselor in Grand Rapids Ada MIRosann Raftery is a Limited Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LLMFT) and LLLPC living in Grand Rapids, MI. She specializes in working with couples and families to assist them in building their communication skills, healing, and strengthening their relationships. She is available for Marriage CounselingFamily CounselingPre-Marital CounselingDivorce Recovery, and more. For more on Rosanne, read her full bio.




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