Here is a practice from my book Leap Before You Look:
Everyday, make sure you express five things that you appreciate about your partner.
You can sprinkle these appreciations throughout the day.
Or you can sit down and do them all at once as a structured practice,
Which will only take a few minutes.
Appreciate qualities rather than practical actions:
I really appreciate how loving and caring you are;
I appreciate your sense of humor;
I appreciate how much I can count on you;
I appreciate how much beauty you bring to our home.
Do this every day, whether you feel like it or not.
It will reawaken a quality that is easily forgotten.
Appreciation is an underused muscle. With so many things to get done, so many to-dos to check off the list before the day is over, we get in the habit of only using language to take care of what is not right. “I can’t stand it when you make a mess in the kitchen, please clean it up.” “Honey, there are dirty clothes all over the floor. Can you please take care of your laundry on your own?” These are the things we need to say to make life work, and of course we need to say them. If we do not, they become withholds, sticky obstacles to the flow of relationship. But if such things become all that is ever communicated, we miss the deeper possibilities.
Appreciation is a muscle that can be exercised. Consciously practicing appreciation is like going to the gym regularly and building muscles that would not otherwise be used. The more we consciously appreciate our partner, the more we spontaneously feel appreciation. This practice transforms a relationship from being functional to ecstatic.
At the beginning you may feel that this practice is unnatural. You may not feel appreciative. Do it anyway. Fake it if you need to. Even when you feel resentful or cut off, if you look, you will always find five things that you can appreciate. The conscious practice of appreciation will cultivate this quality like a perfume that starts to permeate your day. Soon it will overflow from the relationship in which you are practicing into the rest of your life. You will start to naturally appreciate the other people close to you, and eventually more and more of life, finally leading to the divine itself.
To read more, purchase my book Leap Before You Look here.
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