What is the secret to a great relationship? The first thing that comes to mind is love, of course. Kindness and respect should be on everybody’s wish list. Yet there’s another element that is an essential part of a relationship: admiration. Without admiration, love fades and bitterness and disdain can take its place.
How does a couple deepen their sense of mutual admiration? Respect each other’s passions:
Contrary to popular thought, a loving couple does not have to spend all their spare time together. In fact, couples who pursue separate passions report that this helps keep their marriage fresh and exciting. There’s a balance to this, of course. But spending a couple of hours doing “your own thing”, be it trail running, or taking a cooking class, or volunteering at the community center, and then coming home and sharing your experience with your partner is a sure way to deepen your shared admiration for each other. You sense your partner’s feeling of accomplishment and you are proud of them.
Supporting each other’s professional trajectory is part of nourishing admiration. Is there anything you can be doing to help your partner move forward with their career? Is there anything they can be doing for you? These are good conversations to have. When you get that promotion, you can be sure that your spouse will be right there, with admiration in their eyes.
“I admire how you ________” can be just as meaningful as “I love you.” Remember to tell your spouse how much you admire them. It can be especially welcome when they are feeling down or depressed. Reminding them that they have gifts worth recognizing may be just the thing they need to hear.
Create a list:
Right now, list three things you admire about your partner. Hang on to that list. Add to it from time to time. Refer to it when going through a rough patch.