[POD] #9: Much appreciated
And this: How fun is that, the revelry of appreciation?
And this: What new can you find to appreciate, using both meanings?
When I think about appreciation, I immediately think about a time that I did not appreciate someone. It has been a long while, but I very much took for granted my husband. I did not appreciate him at all, and our relationship really did depreciate – to play on the financial aspect of appreciation. I was very negative about him, or relationship, and even where we were headed as a couple. We had tried counseling, but seemed to fall back in to the same patterns of behavior that were destroying our marriage.
When a friend called me on my behavior and comments towards my husband, I started to show appreciation. Our counselor encouraged us to find one positive thing to speak about the other person. This little change of speaking appreciation for the positive things about my husband, instead of staying focused on the things I thought were wrong, was a turning point in our relationship. It was a slow turn, but it was a distinct turn. The more we invested in each other, the better our relationship grew.
However, like any investment, if I make too many withdraws I can quickly empty the account of its growth and increase. Marriage is as much if not more about what is put into it as what you get out of it. There are seasons in any marriage, but if the take is always more than the give it is very hard for a relationship to continue growing.
I have a busy schedule with Bible studies, prayer, volunteering, work, and grand children. I an easily have things most nights of the week, and commitments that last several months to a year when I start them. I often do this when my husband’s schedule changes, but inevitably it changes again and I already invested in the commitment I have made. It used to not bother me to take this time from my marriage, but over the past few years I have really made an effort to keep the days that we have off together free from regular activities.
There are times when my husband is him-centered and he sees my activities as a withdraw from our time, which it is. However there are other times that he realizes that these activities help fulfill me and he is generally supportive as long as I am not gone every day.
For me, it is easy to get into me-centered thinking. In my mind, I made commitments prior to his schedule changes and I will fulfill them. However, I will say no to activities on the weekends that take me away from home because I don’t want to take time away from “our time.” By “our time” I mean the days that I have set aside to spend with him. I take for granted that the activities that he wants to do for himself are not necessarily scheduled around my schedule. I had to catch myself of this over the past few weekends as he had things to take care of that did not take into account me setting aside time to be with him. I was a little put out that he wasn’t available on my schedule and it just accumulated with other things that were bothering me. So it is easy for me to take in this area and not want to give.
The other things about investments, is they need regular attention. Yes I can put money in an account and if it is interest bearing gain a return, but the return will be much higher if I am intentional with where I am putting my focus and move funds around for better opportunities.
In order to show appreciation in my marriage, I have to give it regular attention. My husband and I used to do regular date nights once a week, we would take walks together and go on motorcycle rides together. We were intentional with putting out attention on things we both enjoyed doing. Being intentional, our relationship became stronger and we grew together, our desire for the other appreciated.
I realize the more I take time to appreciate my husband, the more our relationship appreciates. The more we grow together, the stronger our relationship grows. The more we put into our relationship intentionally, the more we get out of it.
It is true an any relationship, any hobby, and activities – the more I show appreciation for it, the more it appreciates. If I pour time into a hobby, the more I am going to enjoy it. The more I enjoy it the better I will become at it. The better I become at my hobby, the more I appreciate it. It is a cycle that feeds itself – appreciation to appreciation. The more time I give to an activities, the more I am likely to enjoy it, the more I enjoy it, the more the activity grows in my life. Appreciation leads to appreciation. I see this in my study of the Bible. The more I appreciate what I am reading and am able to apply it to my life, the more it appreciates and grows to produce fruit in my life.
I think the area that I would most like to learn more appreciation for is prayer, because I want the bold, audacious prayers to grow in my life and appreciate into answered prayers. I want to give more appreciation to reading and writing, because I want the knowledge to appreciate and wisdom to come forth as I share what I am learning.
Anything that we learn to appreciate in our life has the ability to appreciate fully in our life, if we will just give it time, consistence and intentional action.
This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.