Marriage can be one of the quickest and most effective paths to taking someone special for granted.

We don’t mean to do it. It just sort of creeps up on us before we know it. All of a sudden we are treating someone who should be cherished in some pretty shabby ways. So let’s look at a few ways we take our spouses for granted, and then look at some tips for cherishing the person we married.

Ignoring your spouse

Believe that marriage seals the contract, end of transaction and the work is over.

Stop doing the things you did to court and win your partner.

Stop seeing your partner for who she/he really is.

Stop seeing your partner at all.

See your partner as the enemy, someone who is in your way.

Fail to learn from experience.

Believe that you deserve to be loved just by showing up.

Behave in ways that demonstrate you know nothing about the person you married, or you don’t care about what you know.

If you see yourself in any of the examples above, you’re not alone. This goes on more often than you might think. The good news is you recognize it.

Cherishing your spouse

See her/him – really see her/him.

Don’t just remember and celebrate your anniversary each year. Celebrate each month on the date of your wedding.

Be creative. Keep improving on the good things you have done.

Know your spouse. Do a “study” on him/her. And then use what you learn.

Listen to your partner’s dreams.

Make special time each day for your partner. We make time in our day for so many trivial things. Why not make time for the very important people? If you are out of town, connect by phone or e-mail, and/or leave a note she/he will find while you’re gone.

Don’t just cherish your partner, but cherish your partner’s parents as well. If for no other reason, for bringing your spouse into the world. You may have your differences with them, but honoring them honors your spouse.

Make memories. Ask your spouse what a perfect day would look like, and then create as much of it as you can.

Get a sheet of paper and list what your partner does that makes you happy and his/her qualities you most admire. Then give your partner the list.

Develop a mindset and a heartset that searches for daily opportunities to show how much you cherish your spouse.

When you step back and look at the differences between the above two categories, it really is much easier to cherish than it is to take for granted. It also makes life a whole lot better for both of you.

Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist.


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