by Shasta Townsend and Ian Lavalley
There are three almost magical words that instantly deepen connection, fan the flames of passion and create unshakable bonds….but almost no one says them!
How many times have you said ‘I love you’ to your partner or spouse?
Depending on the length of your relationship (and your level of expressiveness), it might be a hundred, a thousand, or a million times.
Expressing words of love are essential in every relationship, but what if you could learn 3 words that would light up your lover AND take your relationship to an even deeper level?
There are three almost magical words that when said with real sincerity will deepen your connection and allow your lover to feel really seen.
“I APPRECIATE YOU.”
‘I appreciate you’ are the three magic words that all of us need to say more often in a relationship, all relationships, but certainly in our intimate relationship.
It’s perhaps because we often don’t hear them that they might be so powerful.
As one male attendee told us after we taught this at a business event:
“I tell my wife ‘I Love You’ all the time, but I used your 3-words and she actually started crying.”
“Then I started crying.
“In two-decades, I’m not sure we’ve felt this connected! I just always thought she knew I appreciated her, but saying it was powerful.”
You may elicit a response like this the first time you say it, but hearing
‘I appreciate you’ never gets old!
Even after 17-years together, we say it to each other every day and it still feels like an emotional booster shot.
Appreciation is the cornerstone of a long-lasting relationship.
In a relationship, it’s easy to take each other for granted or fixate on the stuff that gets under your skin, but by looking for things to appreciate and then expressing that appreciation, you’ll both feel happier and more connected.
Research from the journal of Cognition and Emotion shows that gratitude is THE quality that makes people want to spend time with you.
‘I appreciate you’ can actually be more powerful than ‘I love you’.
1. ‘I Love You’ Might Be Triggering – Almost every human has experienced heartbreak, trauma and betrayal at the hands of someone who “loved” them so, we often have mixed feelings about love. Appreciation, on the other hand, is usually a “safe” emotion for nearly everyone and is not so charged.
2. ‘I Love You’ Can Get Watered Down – we may hear ‘I love you’ a lot in a relationship and it can almost be a given so it can get “watered down”. “I know you love me,” is a frequent response. Because we hear it often we almost take it for granted, and it loses its power.
3. ‘I Love You’ Can Be Manipulative – ‘I love you’ can be used to appease, mollify or even shut up our spouse. “You know I love you” can be manipulative, but ‘I appreciate you’ is often surprising and heartfelt.
4. Appreciation Heightens EVERYTHING – recent studies in gratitude, AKA appreciation, prove that when we are in a state of appreciation our physical, mental and emotional health drastically improves. Read How the Power of Gratitude Can Change Your Life. So imagine what being in a state of gratitude towards your partner could do to deepen connection, fan the flames of passion and enrich your friendship, not to mention boost both of your health and vitality.
Feel awkward or don’t know how to start?
Three Powerful Ways to Say I Appreciate You
• Simply, look them in the eye and say, “I appreciate you”.
• Thank your lover for their unique qualities: “I appreciate that you’re so funny/kind/ambitious/loving.”
• Appreciate the little things: “I appreciate that you always make the coffee. “I appreciate that you pick up the kids. “I appreciate that you got the dry-cleaning today.
BTW: we aren’t suggesting you don’t say I love you, but rather that you truly say it with heart AND you add in ‘I appreciate you’.
The key, of course, is to really mean it!
What can you appreciate about your partner today?
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
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Photo courtesy iStock.