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Nurturing Your Fondness and Admiration

As simple as it may sound, happily married couples like each other.  Happy partners maintain respect for each other even during disagreements and remind themselves of the positive qualities about their partner.  Although liking your partner sounds easy, couples often find themselves stuck in feelings of contempt or even disgust when it comes to their partner.  Eye rolls, sneers, and sarcasm are sure signs your feelings might be heading down a negative road.  The remedy? Nurturing your fondness and admiration.

Learn More About Nurturing Your Fondness

Feelings of fondness and admiration can be strengthened by showing appreciation and gratitude for your partner.  They don’t have to be grand gestures.  Instead, focus on the little things your partner does right throughout the day.  When you see your partner taking out the trash, do you let them know you’re grateful for them?  After a busy day, thank your partner for running those errands you weren’t able to get to.

It’s easy to notice the things your partner is doing wrong, but it’s just as easy to notice the things your partner is doing right.  According to Gottman, “Unhappily married couples tend to notice only half of the positive interactions that actually occurred”.  This means even if your partner is doing something right, you may not be noticing it.  Which do you tend to focus on?

If you are struggling with feelings of fondness and admiration for your partner, here are a couple of questions to reflect upon:

  • What do I value about my partner?

  • What positive qualities does my partner possess?

  • In what ways could I let my partner know I appreciate them?

  • Am I focusing on what my partner does wrong more often than on what my partner does right?

  • How do I currently let my partner know I cherish them and our relationship?

  • Am I modeling the behavior I expect from my partner?

Resources:    PhD, G. J., & Silver, N. (2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert (Revised ed.). Harmony.

Alison Bellows Cearlock was a graduate student Intern with The Mindly Group, PLLC studying Clinical Counseling at NC State University.

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