Play a little each day
Studies have shown that expressing gratitude toward one's partner builds trust, satisfaction and connection in our relationships. When we express gratitude we set off a series of emotions (i.e. generosity, love, warmth, happiness and trust) in ourselves and in our partners. These emotions are even stronger when we sense that our partner's actions reflect caring about our needs and preferences.
We all have the need to feel appreciated, valued and connected. Expressing gratitude helps us to get our needs met. When we begin to express gratitude to our partner it helps us, in turn, to become more aware of all of the things that are done for us. We have a tendency to be oblivious to the things that our partner may do to show their love. So often couples will complain that their partner doesn't do things for them, only to discover that they have been unaware of the actions and expressions of caring that have been there all along.
One of the hardest things for couples in conflict to do is to develop a mindset of giving and receiving gratitude. To many people, giving thanks for something that a partner does creates vulnerability and a feeling of indebtedness. Quite the opposite is true. There is a wonderful reciprocity to gratitude; it tends to create a desire in our partner to express gratitude to us. We develop a new cycle-one of warmth and partnership.
Here are 5 things that you can do to grow gratitude in your relationship:
Thank your partner for small things that you would normally take for granted
Show gratitude to your partner at least one time during the day
Notice when your partner does nice things for you. Express your gratitude
Surprise your partner with one small gesture of caring each day
Create a ritual of sitting together each day and telling each other about 3 things you are grateful for that your partner did for you.
Being grateful helps us to view our relationship in a more positive light and tends to soften the bumps that are inevitable as we live our lives together. It helps us to create the kind of life that we want to live as a healthy, connected couple.
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward