I love the word appreciation. It has a wide range of specific meanings, all revolving around the concept of value. Items of value increase in worth over time. If you buy a house, it typically appreciates over time. You sell it for more than you paid after a few years. Jewelry, fine wine, art all appreciate. Their values are not fixed, but increase as they age.
It’s not always about increasing from a monetary standpoint. If you’ve ever been to a volunteer banquet, you’ve certainly heard the word appreciation used throughout the evening. Each person that is recognized is appreciated for the value they have brought to that organization. The time and service they provided was recognized in a public forum.
From a personal standpoint, there are things we appreciate. Beautiful sunsets, the smell of home cooking – even the artwork that our elementary aged children bring home. These things brighten our moods and take us to a better mental place.
There are many things we should appreciate that we typically take for granted. I seldom think about getting a glass of water from my sink, though in many parts of the world the thought of clean, flowing water in the home would only be a dream. I may see having to drive to the grocery to buy food as a chore, but it sure is easier than having to harvest my own vegetables or slaughter my own meat.
In far too many cases, marriage falls into this latter category. The person that God joined together with us; the only other person we become one with is often taken for granted. In the early years that’s not the case. As we fall in love we are blind to any faults or shortcomings our spouse has. But over time, our attention shifts. We quit noticing the good things that we see and experience and begin to focus on the flaws our all-too-human spouses exhibit.
I’ve read studies relating to the workplace (and experienced situations first hand) that deal with appreciating and motivating employees. Employees that feel valued and have a sense they are contributing to the bottom line of the company will put in extra effort toward that end, going above and beyond their job description. On the contrary, employees that feel like they are just a “number”, going through the motions put in just enough effort to keep their jobs. Employees that feel like they are constantly criticized or ridiculed find themselves in a self-fulfilling prophecy. They begin to fall short of their job requirements and are often let go from their position.
Marriage is very similar to the workplace in that regard. A spouse that feels appreciated will put far more effort into the relationship than a spouse that is largely ignored. Persistent criticism of a spouse is a fast track to separation and divorce.
What are the things your spouse does for you that have gone largely unnoticed? Do you thank them for preparing a meal? Do you appreciate the repairs they have made around the house? It takes little to no effort to say “Thank You”, yet the power of that simple phrase is amazing.
Proverbs 31:10 “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.”
In my mind, the same could be said for an excellent husband. God has blessed you with a spouse. Take time to focus on the many ways they make your life more valuable. Let them know what it is that you truly appreciate. You’ll be amazed what this does for your relationship.