A Year Long Gift!!

by

With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this time of year when we show others how much they mean to us by the time honored gesture of gift-giving. Having always been a “gift-giver” myself, I enjoy bringing the Christmas spirit into the lives of others during this time of the year, ensuring they know how much I appreciate them. However, I also believe in telling and showing others that I appreciate them all throughout the year as well.

Research has shown that this quality is necessary in order to have healthy relationships, not just with a significant other, but with all life relationships. With regard to marriage, research points out that people who feel appreciated by their spouses report stronger feelings of happiness and satisfaction in their marriages compared to people who do not experience appreciation in their marriages. Findings like these suggest that acts of appreciation are crucial to the well-being of relationships!!

Do you know people who are in an unhappy marriage or dating relationship? I bet that they, their partner, or both of them do not participate in acts of appreciation often. I have previously been in dating relationships where I felt I was not appreciated and felt taken advantage of. A simple “thank you” was rarely spoken, much less larger acts of appreciation shown. You know when you feel like someone is treating you like a doormat? After a while, people in these types of relationships become resentful and unhappy, which spills over negatively into the relationship itself and can be a contributing factor leading to divorce, abuse, break-ups, and other relationship troubles.

Do you know people who feel slighted or not appreciated at work? By friends? We all know people that feel this way. People who feel unappreciated at work are often less productive. Friendships are often damaged when one or both friends feel they are not valued by the other. I say we all, in the coming New Year, should plan to show some act of appreciation to at least one or two people in our lives on a daily basis. I have seen and experienced first-hand how much acts of appreciation mean to the recipients. So, while we show others through giving gifts this time of year that we appreciate them, let’s give a more meaningful and lasting gift in the coming year- the gift of appreciation every day!! J

Brittny Mathies, M.S.

Ph.D. Student and Graduate Research Assistant for the Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative

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