A Jewish couple recently asked for some relationship tips that could help to solve their marital problems. Their Jewish faith was strong, but they had been arguing a lot and felt headed for a break up. Isaac and Ruth had been together for almost five years, and they found themselves arguing incessantly over little things. Ruth complained that Isaac always left the cap off the toothpaste and Isaac could not understand why Ruth felt the need to straighten up his office and put things where he could never find them.
Of all the relationship tips they needed to learn, expressing appreciation was at the top of the list. Many marital problems stem from losing sight of the many gifts our partner brings to our relationship and we focus on the little annoyances rather than realizing what the other person does for us on a daily basis.
In our modern society we can easily lose sight of what the Jewish faith teaches: Marriage is based on chesed, the little kindnesses that partners do for one another. What often happens is that after a while we begin to view what our partner does as their natural responsibility — so we value it less.
For example, many Jewish couples assume that it is the husband’s job to bring home money, while the wife is responsible for cooking, doing the laundry and caring for the children. But they neglect to thank their partner for these things. The best of relationship tips fall by the wayside when this one simple tip is not followed. A simple “thank you” once in a while, accompanied by a hug or kiss will go a long way in making your partner feel appreciated and wanting to do more to please you.
I ran into Isaac and Ruth a couple of months later and they said their marital problems were greatly improved. By using the relationship tips of expressing love and appreciation for one another’s gifts they had begun to discover even more that they loved about one another than they had in the previous five years.
The more love and appreciation you express in your relationship, the more it will be returned to you in kind. As Rabbi Michael Laitner refers to a saying in the Jewish faith: “An old Midrashic adage states that a groom is compared to a king as long, add the Rabbi, as he treats his bride like a queen.”