AAA – Roadside Assistance on the Highway of Love: Affection, Appreciation, Adoration

At any point along a couples journey they might find themselves in need of a relationship Jumpstart.  Deep inside you love each other, but your daily relationship might be fraught with frustration, aggravation, or resentment.  You might find yourself in a rut, and wondering what happened to all the love and romance you had in the beginning of your relationship.

The road to a more fulfilling relationship requires changes that often are the conscious choices of outward expression.  It is the commitment to doing something different in your relationship even if it at first seems awkward or stilted.  One of the biggest mistakes couples make is keeping ‘the good stuff’ to themselves; the loving and caring thoughts about their partner.

Affection is frequently misunderstood in the necessary role it plays in couple’s lives.  Affection is not just a female need, men desire affection too.   It isn’t only kissing and hugging.  Affection can be the gentle hand on one’s shoulder when a partner is stressed.   Holding hands when walking together.  Affection is the back rub after a hard day.  The card placed in the coat pocket that says ‘I love you’.  It is the blown kiss across the room at a party.  It is the caress in your sleep.  Affection is the physical act of letting your partner know that they are loved.

Appreciation is something that everyone needs.  Even when we are careful to let our children know that they are appreciated, we often fail to let our mate know.  Acknowledgement and appreciation are closely aligned here.  Often we silently acknowledge the things that others do which makes our lives easier, feel more loved, or adds to our respect for them.  Appreciation is the outward sharing of those feelings – it is the ‘thank you’ for things that weren’t asked for, or are the routine part of our daily lives.  It is simply saying, not only do I know that you do these things, but I also value that you do these things; from taking out the garbage, to stocking the house with food, to getting up and going to work every day, to being a caring parent.  If you start to think about it, there are probably endless things that you appreciate about your partner.  Share them.  Don’t keep compliments and gratitude to yourself.  Appreciation is the verbal act of letting your partner know that they are loved.

Adoration is a bit harder to describe, and for some couples may require a deeper look into themselves and what is blocking it.  Adoration is the way your face lights up when you see your partner.  It is the time and mindfulness taken to listen and really understand the stories your partner tells you.  It is the sparkle in your eye when you are feeling sensuous toward your partner.  Adoration is the pride you feel that your partner is yours and you are grateful for that.  Adoration is the soulful act of letting your partner know that they are loved.

Many couples don’t always make the whole journey together, often realizing along the way that something is missing, but not sure how to get it back on track.  Even the best relationships need maintenance, the care and attention to go the distance.

Leslie FabianLeslie Fabian is a NYS licensed Individuals and Couples Psychotherapist with over 22 years of private practice. Leslie Fabian, MSW, LCSW, The Lighthouse Retreat and Wellness Center in Croton on Hudson, 24 East 12th St., New York, NY, [email protected], 917-620-0524.