How To Show Your Partner You Appreciate Them

When I recently shared on Instagram that I was feeling unappreciated a lot of people said they felt the same. It has been a particularly hard year with having to balance all the normal housework, childcare and actual jobs with new pressures and restrictions. The relentless stress and challenges have left many of us feeling frustrated, bored and unvalued. 

If you asked my partner if he appreciates what I do he would say he does. He knows that looking after our children all day is a hard job, he knew just how difficult I found homeschooling and he has some vague idea that I do housework even though I suspect he doesn’t realise how much. There is a difference though in BEING appreciated and FEELING it. Sometimes we need our partner to step the recognition and thanks up a gear, but how? 

One hand passing a paper heart to another hand for a post to suggest ways to show your partner you appreciate them

5 Ways To Show Your Partner You Really Appreciate Them

Someone jokingly suggested leaving notes around the house to prompt recognition eg “I went shopping, say thank you” on the milk, “I cleaned the toilet, tell me I’m great” on the loo seat or “tell me I’m beautiful” on the bathroom mirror. While I am tempted to give these a go, sending this post to your partner might be an easier option.

1. Tell them.

A recent conversation with my partner provided the revelation that he didn’t realise I needed to hear his appreciation. For him “knowing” is enough, but I actually need to hear the words. I want to regularly be told “I love you”, “I appreciate all you do for us”, “you are a good mum” etc. 

It is easy to fall into roles at home where certain activities become a person’s responsibility and they are taken for granted for instance I cook dinner the majority of the time. I enjoy cooking, but the chore of trying to work out what to make, buying the food and cooking while trying to prevent any major fights between my 3 children isn’t particularly enjoyable. How often when we sit down to eat do I get thanked for making the meal? How often does the food get complimented as being nice? Rarely. In fact my children like to do the complete opposite at times. At the weekend both my daughters stated they weren’t going to touch any of the roast dinner I made before they had even got to the table. Of course they did eat some, but it left me feeling a little flat and a compliment from my partner would have gone a long way to balance that out.

2. Notice the little things.

On a parenting course I attended they suggested using a “Kindness Chart”. The idea is that you put a sheet of paper up and every time someone does something kind they get to put a star on the paper. We used black paper and silver stars which created a lovely starry sky picture. Unlike a reward chart this isn’t about ticking boxes or individual efforts, but anyone in the house can recognise kindness and award a star to another person. Our piece of paper was filling up nicely, with my children and partner having stuck on numerous stickers, but I hadn’t yet received any. This was despite me spending the entire day doing things for other people. It was so taken for granted that no one thought to recognise my actions. Once I tearily pointed it out, the tables turned, but initially it was upsetting.

When people make grand gestures we say “thank you”. As Brits we almost mechanically say thank you for all manner of transactions, but to help your partner to feel more valued try paying attention to the little things they have done and make sure to say thank you: whether it’s changing the toilet roll, making the bed or buying your favourite brand of coffee. 

3. Buy them a thoughtful gift.

There are days throughout the year which prompt us to buy presents: eg Christmas, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s, but these days have expectation loaded on them. There is a pressure to get something good and it is so easy for the recipient to feel disappointed. Giving a gift at an unexpected time is totally different though. When a present genuinely isn’t expected it can be appreciated so much more. Whether it’s a diamond necklace to say congratulations for all your homeschooling efforts (because diamonds are super hard and so is homeschooling), a take away to say thank you for making 100 meals this month or even an eternity ring to say well done for the near impossible achievement of getting to the bottom of the washing basket.

4. Give them a break.

I have said before that one of the things I would like for a birthday present  is my house tidied and with the relentlessness of the last year this would be appreciated more than ever. I would love a day off from all my responsibilities, but even more than that it needs someone else to take on my roles for the day so I don’t have to do double the effort the next day.

5. Don’t assume what they do are “their” jobs.

Just because I do the majority of the washing doesn’t mean that is MY job. Likewise my partner generally puts the bins out, but that doesn’t mean he HAS to be the bin man. While it is good to have a division of labour at home to ensure jobs get done there can be the risk that only one person ever does that job. Even worse if the “wrong” person does it as a favour there is often praise heaped on them in a way that wouldn’t happen the other way round. 

I guess the point is: don’t take anything your partner does for granted. Take time to notice what they do and make sure they know your appreciation by TELLING and SHOWING them.

***This is a collaborative post***

How to show your partner you appreciate them

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