10 Things I Like About You: Appreciation in Marriage


I really don’t like it when you roll your eyes when I’m talking.

I neverrrrrrr….Oh my gosh, I AM rolling my eyes!

Brian and I were fairly newly married and driving home from attending the first day of a two-day marriage conference when this painful conversation occurred. I was mortified to realize I was doing something so demeaning to my husband without even realizing it.

It’s one thing to plan a great wedding...but what do you do when you want to stay happily married for the rest of your life? (Besides not continually rolling your eyes at your spouse, of course!)

I’ve been married 35 years now and for most of that time I’ve worked alongside my husband, teaching and encouraging other couples in their marriages. Because of that, I could not begin to count the number of marriage books we’ve read, research we’ve done, conferences we’ve attended, classes we’ve taught, conversations we’ve had, couples we’ve counseled, and marriages we’ve fiercely fought for. In all these years, I’ve become more and more convinced of one thing:

A really good marriage requires maintenance.
Lots and lots of maintenance.

An assignment from the second day of that conference taught me one of the most surprising forms of marriage maintenance I’ve found: cultivating and giving the gift of appreciation. They asked us to make a list of 10 things we most appreciated in our spouse and to thank God for each of those things every day for 30 days. Here is what I learned after 30 days:

  • When you are determined to see good, it’s much easier to find! Even though I know my husband is a great man and genuinely good guy, if I’m not careful I’ll focus only on what I wish he did differently and opinions that don’t line up with my own. Perspective changes everything!

  • How you think motivates how you feel and act. So, thinking about my mate and marriage in positive ways, helps me feel and act more positively toward him. This makes it a lot easier for me to faithfully fulfill those “love, honor, and cherish” marriage vows.

  • Appreciation begets all manner of loveliness. Your mate appears more attractive to you and your grateful spirit makes you more attractive him. Done genuinely and often, expressing appreciation to your spouse is contagious, inspiring, joy-inducing, and intimacy-building.

  • Practicing appreciation helps protect our hearts from a critical spirit, the death angel to marriage.

Appreciation is something we all long for. It makes us feel seen and valued. It’s not the number of things we can find to appreciate in our mate that’s critical,. What’s important is that we keep looking for what is good in them and faithfully say “Thank You” when we find it – “Thank You” to God and to this handmade creation of His that He’s sharing with us.

Let’s cultivate our gratitude for the one person we have pledged to walk through life with. For better or for worse, let’s regularly give our marriages the gift of appreciation.

What is one thing you appreciate in your spouse?


Meet the Author!

Bible teacher, author, inspirational speaker and disciple-maker, Vickey Banks is passionate about helping women connect the dots between God’s Word and their everyday lives. She loves serving as Women’s Ministry Director at Council Road, celebrating her people, playing with her puppy and getting lost in a good story.