Wouldn’t it be great if we could purchase relationship insurance? In the event of a broken heart, we could simply call “Triple-A’s” and get our relationship fixed fast!

Relationship Insurance: Sign me up

This blog is the last in our relationship series. Today, I want to teach you my “Triple-A’s” fix for strained relationships. They are easy to remember: Approval, Admiration, and Attention.  None are novel ideas, but each is incredibly important in our connections with people.


Approval, in its most basic form, is praise – recognizing people for the great things they do or say.  My business career was not enhanced by rewards and recognition. I did not need approval nor did I think I needed recognition.

Later, when I thought about my childhood, I knew this was a blatant lie.  I needed a continuous flow of praise and recognition.  If you were one of more than two siblings, or you have a big family, it becomes apparent how all children vie for the praise and recognition of their parents and mentors.

It is a basic human need, and I still thrive on the approval of my loved ones; as everyone does.  In a strained relationship, my guess is there has not been enough of that kind of praise.


When we admire someone, we emphasize those traits that we love about them and the qualities we adore.  What great qualities does the person embody?  Are there things that make them outstanding or things you genuinely love about them?  Maybe it is their eyes, their laugh, the way they dress, the way they walk or the way they talk.

These areas must be praised, highlighted and encouraged.  Show the person you truly admire them, and why.  We all like to be admired and like to know that there is something the other person in the relationship finds unique.


One of the most prominent problems in strained relationships is when people do not feel like a priority.  The fact they do not receive enough attention seems to attest to this, even when this may not be true.  A spouse comes home, whether husband or wife, too exhausted to listen or to give anything of themselves.  The ability to listen will disappear if we forget to practice it within our closest relationships.

My husband and I love to go to dinner together.  We love to talk and to listen to each other, but we find ourselves distracted, picking up phones in the middle of dinner.  It is something we urgently need to work on, to retrain ourselves.  I cannot believe how easy it is to learn this behavior – being on the phone, continuously connected to a device because there is too much going on in the palms of our hand today.

It is time to set it aside, to listen attentively, carefully reciting back what we hear to reiterate the message.  Even though we claim to be paying attention to what some is saying and what we are hearing is often not the same.  I learned that through a lot of therapy and am working on being a better listener.

Better Relationships

The six key areas mentioned throughout this series are money, appreciation, attitude, approval, admiration, and attention.  After evaluating and identifying issues in a strained relationship, make a list of these areas, thinking about how to improve each one.

May it ignite a spark towards happy and healthy relationships.