Expressing gratitude is healthy for your physical health and for your relationship health as well! Studies have found that expressing gratitude in a relationship adds a small boost of wanting to hold onto the relationship, therefore leading to working to maintain the relationship’s happiness. It makes sense that if you feel appreciated and you appreciate your partner that you will both want to continue to express your gratitude towards each other.

Gratitude and Routines

​I know that it’s normal to fall into a routine of one partner taking out the trash, walking the dog, going to the grocery store, while the other partner cleans the dishes, mows the lawn, and cooks. Many couples go about their routines and don’t expect or remember to express gratitude. I often hear, “well why should I say thank you for something so small, it’s your job to do X, just how it’s my job to do Y.”  

Well the truth is that after so many months or even years of going out of your way to complete certain tasks for each other, it can feel as if you are invisible or that it may not matter. We all know at the end of the day, the dishes must be done and there needs to be food in the fridge, but the attitude and feeling of completing the most basic tasks now feels lonely and sad.

​I know that it is difficult to say, “thank you” for everything and that is not the point. But what I want you to focus on, is taking the time to acknowledge the hard work your partner does. Yes, even washing the dishes. Because, it’s not really about doing the dishes, it’s that you don’t like to do the dishes and your partner notices this about you and is doing the dishes as a nice gesture. Or perhaps acknowledging that both of you have had a long day and you know how hard it is to continue to keep “working” when you get home. This is not a time to try to “one up” your partner on who has it worse. 

What do I say?

​Some things that you can do to expand on just saying “thank you,” is to be specific when you are verbalizing your gratitude and appreciation to your partner, or even friends and family.
​​Some examples can be:

  • “I noticed you did ____ for me, thank you.”
  • “I really appreciate when you ___.”
  • “Thank you so much for doing ___.”
  • “I know you worked a really long shift today, so thank you for still ___ on the way home today.”
  • ​“I really love when you ____. It means a lot to me.”

If you want to take your appreciation and gratitude up a notch, how about doing some of the following:

  • Expressing gratitude in front of friends and family
    • It feels good to be acknowledged in front of other people outside of your relationship. This is definitely a confidence booster for you, your partner, and your relationship.
    • This can be done in person or even on social media.
  • Sharing your success with your partner
    • “I could not have done this without you.” Express how grateful you are to have a teammate who is there cheering you on.
  • Remember the little things that bring joy to your partner. If your partner has shared “I really wish I could just come home and relax.” Tune in to that and help make it happen. Maybe it’s picking up food instead of needing to cook dinner. Maybe it’s putting the kids to sleep early so you both can enjoy a movie together.

 

Feeling recognized in your day to day actions is a great way to feel loved and admired. It also helps avoid the feeling of being taken for granted and feeling unseen.

​Expressing gratitude can come in the smallest forms to big gestures, but it’s best to keep it simple because this way, it can be consistent!
 
How will you show you are grateful to your partner?
​Disclaimer: Gratitude is an important component of maintaining healthy relationships. If you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, trying to find moments of being grateful for your partner may not be helpful as it may cause confusion of wanting to stay in an unhealthy or unsafe relationship. 

By: Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I help individuals and couples utilize how to be grateful as a way to show appreciation and increase closeness within relationships. Be sure to check out some of my other services to find quick ways to boost gratitude in your relationship.

Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT (she/her/hers)

Priscilla specializes in working with couples and individuals who want to strengthen their relationship with themselves and with others. Priscilla utilizes research based techniques to help clients implement healthy coping skills and communication skills. Learn more on how you can enhance your relationship today.

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