Showing Fondness & Admiration on Thanksgiving
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the warm fuzzy feelings of the holidays start to settle in and we start thinking of the people in our lives that we’re most grateful for. Whether it’s a grand gesture of taking care of the kids and doing chores around the house, or small tokens like preparing your lunch for you and even listening to you vent about a bad day in the office, your partner offers daily bits and pieces of support that can make all the difference. When was the last time you thanked them for it? In many relationships, these acts of kindness and support are appreciated at first, but then are eventually so integrated into our daily routines that we stop realizing them and start taking them for granted. Sadly, feelings of appreciation and fondness soon follow, and the relationship starts to feel unbalanced. Some couples adopt a “tally” system, where acts of kindness are no longer given freely, but are only done after their partner does something nice first. That is definitely not a healthy system to follow; in fact, it is only inviting contempt –a corrosive that, over time, breaks down the bond between partners- to seep into the relationship. In order to prevent this happening, it is important to proactively foster feelings of appreciation, support, and unconditional love in your relationship before the going gets tough. You will find that getting through stressful times and managing conflict is much easier if you and your partner regularly show how highly you value each other!
Dr. John Gottman, a leading figure in the marriage therapy field and renowned for his extensive work on marital stability and divorce, designed the Fondness & Admiration Questionnaire, which assesses the current level of fondness and admiration that exists in your relationship. If you’re interested to see how much fondness and admiration you have in your relationship, please answer “True” or “False” for each item.
- I can easily list the three things I most admire about my partner. True / False
- When we are apart, I often think fondly about my partner. True / False
- I will often find some way to tell my partner “I love you.” True / False
- I often touch or kiss my partner affectionately. True / False
- My partner really respects me. True / False
- I feel loved and cared for in this relationship. True / False
- I feel accepted and liked by my partner. True / False
- My partner finds me sexy and attractive. True / False
- My partner turns me on sexually. True / False
- There is fire and passion in this relationship. True / False
- Romance is definitely still a part of our relationship. True / False
- I am really proud of my partner. True / False
- My partner really enjoys my achievements and accomplishments. True / False
- I can easily tell you why I started dating my partner. True / False
- If I had it all over again, I would date the same person. True / False
- We rarely go to sleep without some show of love or affection. True / False
- When I come into a room, my partner is glad to see me. True / False
- My partner appreciates the things I do in this relationship. True / False
- My partner generally likes my personality. True / False
- Our sex life is generally satisfying. True / False
Scoring: Give yourself 1 point for each “True” Answer.
10 or above: This is an area of strength in your relationship. Because you value each other highly, you have a shield that can protect your relationship from being overwhelmed by any negativity that also exists between you. Although it might seem obvious to you that people who are in love have a high regard for each other, it’s common for spouses to lose sight of some of their fondness and admiration over time. Remember that this fondness and admiration is a gift worth cherishing. Completing this exercise from time to time will help you reaffirm your positive feelings for each other.
Below 10: Your relationship could stand some improvement in this area. Don’t be discouraged by a low score! There are many couples for whom the fondness and admiration system has not died but is buried under layers of negativity, hurt feelings, and betrayal. By reviving the positive feelings that still lie deep below, you can strengthen your bond enormously!
If your fondness and admiration for each other are being chipped away, the route to bringing them back always begins with realizing how valuable they are. The better in-touch you are with your deep positive feelings for each other, the less likely you are to act contemptuous of your partner when you have a difference of opinion. Give us a call and schedule an appointment if you don’t know where to start. We’d be more than happy to assist you in bringing back feelings of fondness, admiration, and appreciation into your relationship!