Gratitude is important in any relationship, but particularly between couples. One of the most common challenges that couples face is a lack of appreciation and gratitude for their partner. When you first meet your partner, you can’t believe how lucky you are, how sexy they are, how funny they are, how smart they are, etc. As time goes on and we become more comfortable in our relationship, we forget to share this gratitude and excitement with them. Let’s talk about bringing gratitude back!
Many couples seeking therapy have started to take each other for granted and do not express appreciation to their partner for the day to day things that they do to make the relationship successful. Many are seemingly just going through the motions, not acknowledging that their partner is making coffee for them every morning, picking the kids up from school, taking the dog for walks. These “little” things add up and go a long way towards the success of the relationship and the smooth, cohesive running of a partnership or family.
In a recent session I asked one partner when he feels closest to his wife. His response; “when I feel part of the team.” His wish was that his wife would notice small things he did such as getting their daughter dressed or picking up her toys. Saying thanks is simple, but clearly meaningful.
It’s clear that gratitude is important in relationships. The great news is that showing your partner gratitude is easy to do! However, you may be so out of practice that you’re not sure where to start. Here are a couple ideas to get you going:
-Thank them for the little things! (even if it’s something you expect!) Pay attention to the small ways they contribute. Did they make you and the kids dinner? Tell them how much you appreciate that!
-Take some time to acknowledge what you love about your partner. When is the last time you told your partner why you fell in love with them? Acknowledge those things that are special about them.
-It’s never too late to say thank you! Think about what your partner has done for you in the past six months – year. Is there something that they’ve done that you forgot to show appreciation for? Better late then never!
-Give them your attention. Undivided attention goes along way. Really listen to what they are saying; the message they will receive is that you truly value them.
-Write them a note telling them how much you appreciate them and leave it in an unexpected place.
-Take them to their favorite restaurant for everything they have done to contribute to your relationship.
Give some of these a try and notice how it makes an impact in your dynamic. Be intentional about making an effort to continually integrate gratitude in your relationship and you will be healthier and happier as a team!
If you need help working on gratitude in your relationship or reviving a culture of appreciation, love and connection, give us a call and get started with a therapist who can help you make lasting changes.