Valentine’s Day: giving the gift of appreciation

Some years ago, after the butterflies had settled some in our marriage, I found myself days away from Valentine’s Day without an idea for a gift. In fact, thinking about our relationship I realized that my conversations with my husband had changed. From ‘I really like … about you’ I would now just as often say things like, ‘Honey, could you please …’, while pointing at something that needed cleaning up and speaking in a tone ranging from mild irritation to exasperation.

Just to give you an idea, my husband and I have a very different ‘eye for our environment’, which is a euphemism for ‘seeing things that may be out of place’. It explains why he is able to walk past a pile of stuff, while I in overwhelm feel called to immediately start putting things away.*

For instance, if you visit our bedroom (I’m not sure why, but for the sake of this article) you’ll immediately be able to tell which side of the bed belongs to whom, based on the state of our nightstands… (I’ll leave it at that.)

There is a balance in relationships between appreciation and resentment. Appreciation happens when we truly see what the other person brings, while resentment shows up when the other doesn’t meet our expectations. And for me at that time, the balance in our relationship had shifted to a place where resentments were building up. That was not what I wanted. Not only does resentment drain energy, it also creates incoherence in the relationship.

Luckily I have tools for that and I knew exactly what to do to shift the situation. So for that Valentine’s Day I made him a little box full of memories of our courtship as well as other things I really appreciated about him. What I found was that as I wrote, more memories came up and more moments to celebrate his presence in my life!

I rolled each little note up into a small scroll and secured it with a small elastic band (the ones my daughter used for her braces came in quite handy for this). I gathered them all in a small box full of appreciation, which my husband received on Valentine’s Day. He loved it!

These many years later, he still has the box on his nightstand. Not all the scrolls have been read; as a matter of fact, he tends to take one out at random moments and really treasures them. And sometimes, when I have asked ‘Honey, could you please…’ a little too often, he will share one of the notes with me. It really brings us back into a better space together!

*Afterthought: or maybe we simply have a different perspective of where things belong… ;o))


If you are experiencing irritations and resentments in your relationship and would like to shift those, I’d love to schedule a call with you. I promise to be deeply curious and help you get crystal clear about where you are in your situation, and offer some resources that have helped many others in the past. 

Here to support you!