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with Juan Santos, M.S., CRC, LPC

Relationship Counseling, Relationship Support, Marriage Counseling, Marriage Therapy, Couples Counseling, Couples Therapy, Santos Counseling, Tolerance Improves Relationships

How Appreciation Saves Relationships

How Appreciation Can Save Your Relationship

The interesting thing about relationships is that they are often treated as a milestone. When I think of a milestone, the idea of college graduation or turning 18 comes to mind. A milestone is simply a significant stage of life that one meets.

As mentioned earlier, the funny thing about relationships is that we often treat them as a milestone. Relationships in no way should be treated as a milestone. Simply because relationships are forever evolving, growing, and changing.

The strategies that I touch on are the same that I teach in the Relationship Building Course CLICK HERE to explore how it can help your relationship.

Work must always be applied to strengthen your relationship

Plain and simple.

In the early stages of most relationships, partners do such a great job of showing appreciation and gratitude. Saying thank you more often. Holding the door open. Even the simple act of thanking their partner for being present.

What tends to happen is that partners feel they have reached a milestone. The milestone can be marriage, living together, or seriously dating. When the milestone is met, couples struggle to prioritize the relationship as they once had. In my counseling practice, we spend ample time understanding the impact of milestones.

Work, family, friends and other duties of life become mixed in the order of priority. The relationship may take second or even third place.

So, the magic question is then, “what do we do?”

  • What can I do to save my relationship?
  • What can I do to show my partner that I love them?


Let’s start with the act that helps solidify relationships.

The act of appreciation is focused on allowing partners to feel connected, respected and valued. As a professional counselor that helps couples understand how to overcome emotional and behavioral challenges that are hurting the relationship, I’ve learned to understand that partners who utilize appreciation are happier.

Below is a simple step by step platform to utilizing appreciation in your relationship.


During this exercise, I ask that you and your partner to agree to the following:

  1. Set up a time to meet face to face.
  2. Agree to show each other patience and respect during the activity.
  3. Agree to truly invest in the activity.


During the exercise, you and your partner are going to take turns sharing what you appreciate about each other. When disclosing what you appreciate focus your response to the following:

  • Disclose what you appreciate about your partner.
  • Disclose examples of the acts or behaviors you appreciate.
  • Disclose how the act you appreciate impacts you.
  • Disclose how the act you appreciate impacts the relationship.
  • Disclose how the act you appreciate strengthens the relationship.


Below are two case examples that focus on the appreciation exercise. Use each as guidance in understanding how to implement the activity in your relationship. Remember, these are examples. You are welcome to use them or to create your own.


Example 1:

I appreciate that you always think about me and my needs. When you think about me, it makes me feel valued and important in your eyes. When I envision my ideal relationship, it must be with someone that is willing to consider my needs.


Example 2:

I really appreciate how willing you are to always give me a hug or a kiss for no reason. When you kiss, or hug me, I feel seen. I feel that, on a physical level, my needs are met. The person I want to be with must be willing to hug me, kiss me or touch me in some way.


This exercise should be continued at a pace of at least one time per week. I want to encourage you to continue to work on your relationship through appreciation. The act of appreciation provides partners with the opportunity to invest in their relationship by expressing feelings of gratitude and importance.


How Appreciation Saves Relationships



APA Reference
Santos, J. (2018). How Appreciation Saves Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 16, 2019, from


Last updated: 16 Apr 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Apr 2018
Published on All rights reserved.