By Dr. Deborah McFadden
We all live busy lives, and for most of us, there isn't enough time to do everything that we need to do in a given day. Marriages often take a hit in order to cover the rest of the bases.
We take a lot of things for granted in our marriages because we have been together and have a lot of history. We assume that our spouses know how we truly feel about them, but there are some things we all need to hear from time to time.
Here's a list of 12 things that your spouse needs to hear from you more often:
1. "I love you."
Sometimes we think that because we've said "I love you" a few times, we don't need to keep saying it. However, it's important to let your spouse know on a regular basis that they're loved and adored and that you want to always be by their side!
2. "I enjoy being with you."
What a joy it is to hear your spouse say that they really enjoy being with you no matter how long you've been together!
3. "Your opinion is important to me/your feelings are important to me."
It's so important to one's self esteem to know that what you think and feel matters to someone else, especially the person you're closest to.
4. "You look great!"
It feels good to know that your spouse is paying attention to how you look. It makes you want to look your best.
5. "I'm so glad I married you."
When you say this to your spouse, you're saying, "Out of everyone else in the world I choose you today and always. Our relationship was and is a choice! We choose each other in the good and the bad, in the joys and the sorrows of life."
6. "What do you want to do?"
It's important for us to not just assume we know what our spouse wants to do or where they want to go. We need to ask questions and let them respond and possibly sacrifice what we want to do for what the other wants to do. If something is important to your spouse, but not as important to you, learn to give to your spouse in that area.
7. "I can't wait to be with you."
This says, "I love being with you and miss you when we are not together. I think about you throughout my day and look forward to being at home with you."
8. "Our relationship is the most important one I have on this earth."
Hearing these words is encouraging, relationship building, and can help a spouse to hang in there and not feel disheartened when life is getting in the way of spending the kind of time together we desire.
9. "Please and thank you."
Manners are a must in our closest relationships, even more so than in public. If we are able to express please and thank you to strangers, there is no excuse for not expressing those sentiments to our spouses and children. We must not take each other for granted and become complacent in our relationships.
10. "I'm sorry; please forgive me."
We must admit when we have made a mistake, hurt our spouse's feelings, done something that has hurt or disappointed them. Sometimes all it takes is a sincere apology for us to right a wrong. Stubbornness and unwillingness to admit we might have caused a problem creates distance in our relationships. Harboring bitterness and carrying grudges creates even more distance. We may feel justified in our hurt and our anger, but having a spirit that's unwilling to approach the problem and resolve the issue will push us apart and chip away at our love for one another.
11. "I appreciate it when you ... "
It's very important to express appreciation toward our spouses. Instead of finding fault all the time and nagging at one another about the things we don't like, we need to express appreciation for what they do that's helpful. Nagging is discouraging and creates resentment and anger, which leads to more negative interaction. The more appreciative we are, the more likely our spouses will continue to do the things we appreciate. It's always easier to respond to positive input with positive behavior. When we feel appreciated, we tend to want to do even more to meet the needs of our spouses. The more we're able to express appreciation to our spouses, the more satisfied and content we are in our relationships.
12. "It meant more to me than you will ever know when you... "
When your spouse has done something for you that's meaningful, it's good manners to let them know. It can also touch their heart to know that the effort was worthwhile. This response reinforces the meaningful behavior.
All of us like to hear these words from our spouses often. We need to work on expressing them to our spouses regularly. If you haven't been in the habit of speaking words of encouragement and love to your spouse, you can begin now with taking just one of these and putting it into practice.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.