“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”

William James

14 Personally, I’ve been completely satisfied with who you are and what you are doing. You seem to me to be well-motivated and well-instructed, quite capable of guiding and advising one another. Romans 15:14(MSG).

According to the Oxford English Reference Dictionary, to appreciate means’

  1. Esteem highly
  2. Value
  3. Grateful for
  4. Understand the importance
  5. Rise in value

Marriage relationship gets better when spouses learn how to appreciate each other. If you sincerely want to see the best of your spouse, you must master the habit of appreciation. Professor William James the great American psychologist said that the greatest need of humans is to be appreciated at all times.

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Studies has shown that people do more when they are appreciated, therefore if you want to get more from your spouse, if you want the best from your spouse, you must master the habit of appreciation. This sounds simple but it works like magic. This singular habit is my greatest weapon in this journey.

Human brain is wired to pick out things that are not right or errors. I found out from experience and study that many people are fault founders. I also found out that fault finding inhibits development and growth. Therefore, whenever you want to make correction or suggestion, start with appreciation. What this does is to put your partner in a relax and receptive mode then you can make your correction or suggestion. Don’t forget to do it in love.

For men, appreciate your wives always. Appreciate her make-up, her dress, hairstyle, her body, her baby carrying, her food, etc. (If you don’t do that, another man can do it to her and that can be dangerous). It is after appreciating her that you can make a correction or suggestion or give her advice.

This is also applicable to women. Don’t allow an outsider to do it for you. Learn to always appreciate your husband; he is your covering and your head. Appreciating your husband will boost his self-confidence; energize him and motivate him to go all out to please you.

 Effects Or Benefits Of Appreciation.

From the above dictionary definition of appreciation, I deduced some positive effects of appreciation on your partner. And I believe that you and your relationship has a lot to benefit from it.

  1. It esteems your spouse, boasts his/her confidence, and eliminates all forms of the complex. It might interest you to know that high self-esteem and self-confidence are prerequisite for success. The success of your spouse will contribute to your success and that of the relationship.
  2. It adds value to your spouse which will be beneficial to the marriage relationship. I don’t think you will like to be in relationship with any person who has low self-worth. Appreciation is the surest way to raise the value or self-worth of your spouse.
  3. It brings gratitude into the relationship and gratitude is an action motivator therefore, appreciation motivates spouses to do more. This is one of the wonders of appreciation; it makes people to do more. An Igbo adage said; “If you appreciate or show gratitude to any person, that person will do more”. Therefore, if you want more from your spouse, you must master the habit of gratitude and appreciation.
  4. Appreciation shows that you understand what your spouse did. It gladdens the heart of your spouse when he/she is appreciated. People dislike all forms of nonchalance from people they have something in common with. For example how will you feel as a woman that your husband came back from work, move to the dinning, eat your food and continue discussing with you without making any mention of the food?
  5. It shows your spouse that you have placed him or her on a higher level of value. It is generally accepted that we appreciate what we value. And people also believe that those that value them are the people that appreciate them.

Appreciation makes your spouse feel respected, accepted, understood, and loved. Sometimes, my wife will ask me: “do you see my new hairstyle? I will say yes. Then she will ask me: “then what did you do?”  At this juncture, it will be done on me that I have not appreciated her new hairstyle. These kinds of omissions are not good for any marriage relationship.

But What If…?

If for instance, you don’t like the dress or the dressing or make-up of your spouse or anything else, this is how you go about it. Don’t start with outright criticism, correction, or condemnation; rather start with appreciation and tactfully bring out your point. The appreciation will make the heart of your spouse open and receptive to what you want to say which can be correction, suggestion, or advice.

People see criticism, correction or scudding as an infringement to their self-worth. This will be taken care of by appreciation. Criticism and correction triggers defensive mood; therefore don’t start with them. Start with appreciation, this will deactivate self-defense and activate receptive mood, create an enabling atmosphere for better discussion, Try and thank me later.

Let me conclude by saying that appreciation motivates for more; the more you appreciate the more you get and the better your partner becomes. For instance, if a wife appreciates a little gift as small as hair tie from her husband, she should rest assured that more gifts and presents will come from the husband.

Appreciate your husband; appreciate your wife. Though he/she has not met up to your expectation, continue appreciating him/her. Don’t forget that God told us not to despise the day of little beginning. It will get better if you continue to appreciate and never give up.

Appreciation draws out the best in your spouse. Appreciation is the lubricant of a relationship. Nothing will ever work well in any relationship where appreciation is absent.

Action Exercise.

What You Can Do Now

  • Make a list of ten things you like about your spouse. Make sure it is not less than ten.
  • Choose the one you like most.
  • When was the last time you tell your spouse about it?
  • Tell him/her about this two times every day.
  • Tell your spouse something good in the morning.
  • Tell your spouse something good in the night.
  • Give your spouse a hug when any of you is living the house.
  • Give your spouse a hug when any of you comes back to the house.


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