January 2022 Relationship Challenge - Appreciation

I started this challenge on January 10th, so the first month is short - only 3 weeks. I've decided to spend each month focusing on a different aspect of my relationship, and January was a month of expressing appreciation.

When I first decided to do this challenge, I got so inspired I couldn’t sleep thinking and writing about it. And then it was time to actually do it. This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s not as easy and not as fun as when dreaming about it, and yet, I was determined to do it, to show up, every single day.

January challenge: Express appreciation for my husband at least 1 time a day, and more if possible, every single day, no matter what.

Along with appreciation, it can be adoration, admiration, and anything I like and love and adore about him. It could be anything - it can be an appreciation for something he does, it can be an expression of gratitude for him - just for him, exactly as he is (without him having to do anything), it can be admiration for who he is, and how he is in the world. It can be a text message, voice mail, words, food offering or even the way I look at him. And it needs to be explicit (just thinking about it is nice, but doesn't count as a part of this challenge)

What was hard: it wasn’t really hard, I felt a little bit of resistance in the first few days. I noticed thoughts like “why do I have to do this, what if it’s inauthentic because I have to force myself, what if it’s going to be too much, what if he gets used to it (that one made me laugh, there are worse things to get used to)”. I just ignored those thoughts and continued. It only took a few days for it to become a routine.

We had one day when we were “in a fight". Well, I was just stuck in my brain, and didn’t even want to say anything nice, and even thought that day I did offer him an appreciation in the morning, by the evening I was so mad, I didn’t want to put a check mark on the calendar. Yup, there are days like that, and that’s ok. What’s most important is that the next day you get right back on the wagon. We sure fixed it, and appreciation and admiration and adoration came even easier after. It sucked being in a fight - it felt SOOOOO good to be open to love again.

Sometimes I thought it sounded fake so I needed to dig deeper for genuine appreciation. Sometimes I thought surely he’ll know that I'm up to something. Remember this is my personal challenge, and he doesn’t know about it. I just needed time to find my rhythm, and that's why it wasn't a 1 day challenge or a 3 day challenge - it takes time to figure these things out, and it takes time for it to make a difference.

What was easy: Loving him.

What’s the best part about it: Seeing a genuine big smile on Rick’s face when an appreciation or compliment really landed. When he is touched and moved and wants to hide it a little bit, but can’t, and a big sunny smile appears on his face, and his eyes shine with love. That, that’s the best part. Warms my heart.

I also got called the best wife and I’ve got a special treat - unexpectedly. I've got one phone call when he expressed a very beautiful appreciation of me, unprompted and unsolicited. I loved how that felt. Those were nice benefits, but that's not why I'm doing it. I also don't mean that it's all I got back or that it never happened before :) - it was just very very nice, and those moments were special.

His love language in how he shows his love is acts of service, not words

What he wants and needs to receive back is words, not acts of service.

My love language in how I want to give love is words - so it works out perfectly. (I want to receive words, acts of service, touch and gifts :) )

Because I plan the whole challenge (all 12 months), I noticed that I wanted to do things that were not on the list for this month, but I didn’t want to wait. It was fun and uplifting. And very playful.

What did I become aware of: It was a lot easier not to focus on the negatives and let them go, because there was so much focus on the positives.

What did I learn this month: There's no such thing as too much appreciation. I love how I am when I'm tuned into him in this way. I feel lighter.

What impact do I think it had: On any given day, even if there were moments of upsets, or when I was grumpy, there were many - MANY - moments to appreciate him. It’s nice to focus on this because then I know for a fact that good moments outweigh the bad ones, by far.

We had a fantastic month. We had some tough moments, and we did get into a "fight", but we turned it around so quickly and had such great conversations about it, that we came out on the other side feeling so much more connected and in love.

What would I do differently next time: Nothing. I'd continue exactly as it is - looking for moments to sincerely express how much I love and appreciate him, and knowing that any day will provide many opportunities to do so. I am definitely not stopping appreciating him just because I'm moving to a next month challenge - Hugs and Kisses and (non-sexual) Intimacy.