Portland Marriage Counseling: Effort Should Always Be Appreciated

March 16, 2012 by

In sessions with my Portland marriage counseling clients, the relationship advice frequently tends to be on how you can be proactive in solving problems by doing things – talking to your partner, listening to your partner, engaging in compromise, planning date nights. However, it is often just as important to show your partner that you recognize and appreciate their efforts – even when those efforts aren’t succeeding in making things better as much as you’d like.

Too often, when we don’t feel like our partner is doing a good enough job or trying hard enough, our solution is to make them feel bad about it. In situations like this, however, that’s completely counter-productive.

Portland Marriage Counseling: Criticizing Partner’s Efforts Can Be Demoralizing

Even if you wish your partner was doing more, the best relationship advice I can give is to be positive and appreciative. Complaints and negative reactions to a person who is trying to improve their behavior may cause them to become frustrated and disappointed so that they retreat, rather than trying harder.

But by showing appreciation and excitement when you notice them improving, even just a little bit, you are reinforcing the idea that this “good” behavior will be rewarded. This will encourage them without you ever having to ask for it. And isn’t that ultimately what you want?

If you feel that you’ve tried reinforcing your partner’s good behavior and it just doesn’t seem to be working enough, you may want to try talking through your issues in Portland marriage counseling.