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What Does "Don't Take Her for Granted" Mean?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Learn what it means to not take your partner for granted as well as a few tips on how to help to build a strong and healthy relationship.

Defining the Idiom

“Taking someone for granted” means that you don’t value this person enough. You don’t say “thank you” when she does something for you. You might also expect her to help or perform a service without concern for her needs or availability. Behaviors you might notice include calling her to ask for a favor and leaving her with little room to say no. You might casually mention that you invited friends over and expect her to prepare a gourmet meal, serve as hostess, clean up your living space and look gorgeous before the end of the day.

Why Undervaluing Is Easy

If you’ve been in this relationship a while, you develop a sense of who your partner is and what she can accomplish. She offers you stability, dependability, support and makes your life easier, according to Seltzer. Because you have a commitment to one another, you decide your days of pursuit are over and you can now dedicate yourself to other tasks, such as your career or education. Unfortunately, taking her for granted can backfire.

Risks of Undervaluing

When you take your partner for granted, she can feel taken advantage of and resentful, frustrated and unwilling to be forthcoming with the benefits you have enjoyed, advises Seltzer. You begin to overlook how special your partner is and quit appreciating who she is, according to marriage and family therapist Jeff Herring in “Don’t Take Your Special Someone for Granted.” You can even begin to see her as the enemy or fail to meet her needs. Your cozy arrangement can quickly develop some very prickly characteristics.

The Antidote You Need

Treating your partner with gratitude is one way to avoid undervaluing her or to rehabilitate your relationship, according to psychological researcher Amie Gordon, Ph.D., in a Psychology Today article titled “Is Gratitude the Antidote to Relationship Failure?” Say “thank you” and “please” often. Do things for her without being asked. Bring her flowers or give her a spa gift certificate to show your appreciation. Let her hear you praise her to others. Make a list of all the things you appreciate about her, suggests Herring. Each act of appreciation builds value in your relationship and demonstrates how valuable your partner is to you.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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