“Say thank you, until you mean it. If you say it long enough, you will believe it.”
-Melodie Beattie

  • How often do you “thank” your partner?
  • Do you appreciate them for the “little things” or just when there is a grand gesture?
  • What is the balance between complaints and gratitude in your marriage?

For many couples, thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude are an afterthought. We are so busy, so preoccupied, so hurried that our focus is more on “doing” than “being.” Our activities, the kids’ activities, and the never-ending lists leave little time or energy for our marriages. Our minds race:

  • What’s on the schedule?
  • How much did I get done today?
  • Why didn’t I accomplish more?
  • I never have enough time.

Our preoccupation with “doing” blocks us from fully connecting with our partners. We may not take notice of all they are giving, instead focusing on all we are giving. Expressing gratitude is not even in our awareness.

Being mindfully grateful is one of the most valuable assets in a relationship. When you consciously recognize how much your partner gives, and express your thoughts and feelings of thankfulness, the rewards are vast. Creating an attitude of gratitude 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, beliefs and consciousness about the importance of gratitude. Ask yourself the questions below.

  • Is my outlook more positive or negative?
  • Do I believe there is abundance in the world (i.e., 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?

  • 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 any more?
  • 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 she is supposed to do, you are actively “not taking your partner for granted.” Expressing gratefulness for your partner’s actions will encourage her 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 she expresses gratitude to you?
  • Do I criticize my partner’s flaws more or compliment her on her best qualities?

“The 5:1 ratio. To survive/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 your partner does or says. The rewards will be great.

“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. It can turn existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
-Melodie Beattie

We’d love to hear your thoughts about gratitude in relationships on our Facebook page.

Your relationship deserves the highest level of support. Relationship Experts, Bob and Lori Hollander are committed to helping individuals and couples build connection and deepen bonds in a world that often makes it difficult.

Call them at 410-363-2825 or email them today, info@relationshipswork.com.

Photo credit Doug Menuez on Canva