Take an inventory: What is it you admire about your partner?

By: SHADRACK KIRUNGA

Take a trip down memory lane. From the time you noticed your partner for the first time, then, as they say, “One thing led to another,” and now you are a couple, you must have admired something about him/her; something that made you think that he/she would make a great partner.

My bet is that you did not waste time to let your feelings known. Flash forward, several years down the line; do you still find your partner attractive and do you let him know it?

Today, we will discuss why showing admiration for your partner is a great way to build a strong relationship.

These two dictionary definitions will help us understand what admiration is. The first defines it as “a feeling of wonder, pleasure or approval”, while another describes it as “respect and warm approval.”

Admiration is therefore first a feeling, an emotional response to something we observe in another person.

Wonder, pleasure and warmth indicate the positive and genuine nature of the feeling, while respect and approval are the actual feelings that define admiration.

To admire someone is therefore to have genuine respect and approval of them as people, based on some observable aspects of their lives.

WHY IT MATTERS

John Gottman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Washington, founder of the “The Love Lab” and author of more than 190 published works on relationships, singles out admiration as among the most important aspects in a relationship.

According to him, “admiration is about the story you tell yourself about your partner”. That means it should come from the heart, and according to Dr Gottman, it is a good predictor of whether a relationship will survive or not. I guess that is because when all other emotions fade, the real characteristics we admire about our partner are what will be left for us to hang on to.

How, then, does admiration help a couple to nurture a strong relationship?

To begin with, notice that it is assumed that there is something you admire about your partner. To be in a relationship with someone who is not worth your approval and respect is nothing short of disaster.

If you do not admire your partner, or respect them for that matter, that relationship will not work.

TEST YOUR ADMIRATION

Question: what do you really admire about your partner and why? Testing your level of admiration is important, because in some instances, people confuse fear with respect and approval.