How much do you and your partner appreciate each other? How often do you express your gratitude?

Being grateful is one of the most valuable assets in a relationship. When you consciously express your thoughts and feelings of thankfulness for your partner, the rewards will be vast. Creating a gratitude habit will set your relationship apart from the rest. Most couples don’t do this nearly enough – but why?

In the “honeymoon” stage of a relationship, we take nothing for granted; we notice and appreciate in detail the positive efforts of our partner and are thankful for all we receive. Focusing on what we like overshadows that which we don’t like. We quite readily overlook the negatives and idealize our partner.

After the “honeymoon,” the extent of our appreciation for our partner depends upon our outlook, our beliefs and our consciousness about the importance of gratitude.

Ask yourself the following questions:

* Is my outlook more positive or negative?

* Do I believe that there is abundance in the world (i.e., that there is enough) or scarcity (i.e., there is not enough)?

* Do I focus on what I have or don’t have?

* Is my glass half full or half empty?

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
– Albert Einstein

Happiness is not determined by what we have; it is determined by what we choose to think and subsequently feel about what we have. What choice will you make?

Now, ask yourself the following questions about gratitude and your relationship:

* Do I believe it is important to praise the efforts of my partner, or do I think, “I shouldn’t have to praise him; that’s a job he is supposed to do”?

* Do I believe that by complimenting my partner he is likely to do more of what I like? Or, do I believe if I compliment him too much, he will think he doesn’t have to do that anymore?

* How important do I believe expressing gratitude is in nurturing my relationship?

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” – William James

Your partner needs praise; when you give the gift of appreciation for the things he is supposed to do, you are actively “not taking your partner for granted.” Expressing gratefulness for your partner’s actions will encourage him to do more. What are you grateful for?

* How aware are you of your partner’s need for praise?

* How about your own need for praise and appreciation?

* Are you aware of how often you show gratitude towards your partner?

* How about how often he expresses gratitude towards you?

* Do I criticize my partner’s flaws more, or compliment him on his best qualities?

“The 5:1 ratio. To survive and thrive, a couple needs to have 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction.” – John Gottman

There can never be enough gratitude. It’s free and it feels great. Start your gratitude habit today. Be conscious of all the things that your partner does or says. The rewards will be beyond measure.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melodie Beattie

Do you actively practice gratitude in your relationships? (Not just with your partner but also your kids, friends, etc.)