I appreciate your honesty.
I appreciate your quiet support and your vocal critiques.
I appreciate your non-conformity.
I appreciate your silent love.
I appreciate your determination.
I appreciate your patience.
I appreciate your forgiveness.
I appreciate your sharing your life with me.
I found myself telling my husband all of these things in front of strangers a couple of weeks ago. It was part of a structured exercise to take two minutes to put in words what you appreciated about the people in the room. It was hard to “appreciate” the folks we had met just an hour ago. But it was even harder to open up and appreciate my significant other in public.
It’s difficult to verbally acknowledge all that a person means to you. We have been together nine years but I don’t remember any time where we took two minutes to spell out what we really appreciated about one another. We say “I love you” to encompass all those feelings of appreciation. We give each other greeting cards on special occasions. We write poems. Letters. E-mails. But there’s something so different about looking a person in their eye and telling them you appreciate something specific about them. And even though it may seem so, there was nothing artificial about it.
For those two minutes, I could speak from my heart. For those two minutes, he was the center of my world. It was about enjoying him. Acknowledging the little and big ways he makes a difference by being who he is. Admiring, applauding, respecting, celebrating him. It was about forgetting everything else and focusing on the goodness in this human being I call my best friend.
I had goosebumps all over when he got his two minutes to appreciate me. I hadn’t heard him say those things out loud … ever. It made me tear up because even though I “knew” what I meant to him, it was nice to hear it. And it was a humbling experience.
I felt blessed. I felt grateful. I felt loved.
It taught me that I don’t have to wait for a special occasion to come around to express my gratitude. It reminded me of the wonderful person he is in his ordinary ways on an ordinary day. It gave me pause.
Gestures are great, but saying the actual words sometimes means so much more. Try it sometime.
Also posted on Writers Rising.