How Being Grateful Can Add New Life to Your Relationship
If you’re looking for ways to increase your romantic feelings, lift your mood, and deepen your relationship, being grateful is the fastest path forward.
When someone gives you a present, you might go “Oh, this feels good.” Well, when you express your appreciation, it also makes the other person feel good. And this is the foundation of love: being grateful and expressing that gratitude.
In this post, I share 4 ways you can amplify the power of gratitude to boost your happiness, improve your relationships, and grow in love.
Why Being Grateful in Relationships Isn’t Always Easy
I remember once, about seven years into my marriage, I opened the door for my wife as we were leaving a restaurant during a romantic evening out.
But it was a double door, and another man came up and opened the other door for her as well. My wife walked through both open doors like a queen.
With a really beautiful smile, she looked to the stranger and said, "Oh, thank you." And then we walked off.
Now, what I heard was: "Oh, she appreciates him, but I better open the door because she does my laundry for me."
Like I was expected to do it so I didn’t feel appreciated.
This is because, over time, we tend to take our partners for granted.
Women may take men for granted by not being particularly grateful for what he does since it’s expected by now and not expressing to their partner that they’re grateful for them.
Men, on the other hand, stop giving the love that makes a woman feel special and loved.
We (men) stop doing the little things we did in the beginning of the relationship that show our partner how much we appreciate her, how special she is, how much we care, and that we’re grateful that she’s a part of our life.
In the beginning, we likely demonstrated that gratitude through little actions, like:
- Being affectionate
- Complimenting her
- Saying “thank you”
- Minimizing any type of complaint
What we instinctively did in the beginning is act on the wisdom that…
If you’re going to have a complaint, it needs to be balanced by 10 expressions of appreciation and gratitude.
Being grateful in this way helps to neutralize any of the little frustrations and disappointments.
Often a woman will say to me in counseling: "My husband never even hugs me or says he loves me." And if you ask him why, he’ll say: "Why do we have to hug? We're more intimate now."
Or: "Of course, I love you. I do this. And I do this. And this. Why would I do all these things if I didn't love you?"
So what can we do to start being grateful and bring the appreciation back? So he can do the things that make her feel loved and appreciated, and she can feel it and express it again?
Realize the Power of Little Expressions of Love
When we tend to take our partners for granted over the years, we don't realize the power of being grateful through those little expressions of love.
These are the small acts that really give the message that “I'm grateful for you.”
To show gratitude, you don't always have to say, "Thank you." But lots of little thank yous are really nice to say. Even if your partner says, "No problem."
You might say, "I enjoy saying ‘thank you.’ I just appreciate you so much."
It's these little things that we do in the beginning that allow us to feel the same way later in life, just like we did in the beginning.
But sometimes, once people get into a relationship, they stop being grateful and start feeling:
So what can you do to stay on the “grateful” side?
Make the “Attitude of Gratitude” a Habit
When you’re having negative emotions like irritation, that is a sign that you don't feel your partner appreciates you or sees what you do.
You may feel that they take you for granted, and nobody likes to have that feeling.
But often, when people get into relationships, they start to behave habitually instead of intentionally.
And there are two common bad habits that get in the way of being grateful that you’ll want to become aware of and start to shift.
One bad habit is forgetting to appreciate and express gratitude for the small things that your partner does for you.
Instead, make it a point to pay attention and choose an attitude of gratitude.
When your partner does things for you, make sure to:
- Notice it
- Acknowledge it
- Appreciate it out loud
You can say:
- “Oh, thank you. “
- “Oh, that's so helpful.”
- “Oh, this meal is delicious.”
- “Oh, you brought out the trash.”
- “Oh, I'm so glad the house looks so good. Thanks for helping out.”
These are little expressions that we may even feel inside but don't think it's warranted to express. But, it's very important to express it out loud.
Another bad habit that doesn't reflect an attitude of gratitude is that we start to criticize.
This may look like…
- Becoming argumentative or judgmental
Complaining is an instinct that we all have.
But it is not good to allow it to continue to control your life, and being grateful is what can change things. Love is the answer.
Often, when our partner is...
… we want to point it out to them, and we get upset with them.
The problem is when you complain with negative emotions, you’re using outdated modes of communication — of using negativity to try to get what you want.
Using negative emotions to motivate your partner to change will not help them feel that you're grateful for them, even though you might be.
So what can you do to change this?
Check Your Negative Emotions Before Bringing Them to Your Partner
Before you express your negative feelings towards your partner, take some time.
You don’t want to push your feelings down, but instead:
You want to listen to your feelings, but not try to use them to change your partner.
You don’t want negative emotions to become a tool to get what you want.
Breaking this habit isn’t about aiming for perfection. Certainly, we're all going to do it sometimes, and that's okay, but we want to do our best to minimize it.
And when it does come out as a criticism or complaint, simply apologize and come back to being grateful.
When You Slip, Simply Say “Sorry” and “Thank You”
If you find yourself complaining or criticizing, you can always come back to being grateful.
"Oh, I'm sorry I reacted to you in that way. I'm just so appreciative of you, and I'm grateful."
And say a few of the things you're grateful for!
It's such a powerful, motivating force to grow in love together.
When you can develop this awareness around your instincts to focus on the negative and instead consciously cultivate an attitude of gratitude, you won’t fall into the trap so many couples fall into of taking each other for granted.
Being grateful, increasing messages of gratitude, whether in the form of thank yous, affection, or compliments, can make a world of difference to boost your positive feelings, minimize the upsets in a relationship, and help you to grow in love.
Grow in love,
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