Gratitude has some serious medicine in it, no doubt, but can it help save a failing relationship? We’re going with a resounding YES. Here’s why.
Maintaining a relationship calls for effort from both partners, but things aren’t always rosy, especially when the honeymoon phase comes to an end.
If you’re in a long-term relationship, you might find yourself taking your partner for granted. As your relationship matures, you might not put in the effort you did in the beginning when your love was at its newest. You no longer surprise each other with gifts, and you can’t recall the last time you went on a date. After a time of this pattern, you end up not appreciating them, taking their love for granted as something normal. You assume they’ll always be there and that you’ll always be together.
Unfortunately, that’s not how love works.
Left unattended, the flames of love are likely to die out, leaving one or both partners feeling neglected, ignored, and resentful.
Gratitude to the Rescue
The good news is there’s a way to breathe new life into your relationship and make your partner feel appreciated once again.
The simple fix is to inject feelings of gratitude into your relationship. That’s right, an attitude of gratitude just might be what the doctor ordered for your ailing relationship. This attitude shift means thinking not only about the special little or big things your partner does for you, but also feeling grateful for who they are as a person, and for their presence in your life.
It also means consciously thinking about all the good traits they have and being thankful you’re in a relationship with someone that awesome in the first place.
How Gratitude Helps Couples
How exactly can being grateful improve your relationship?
Well, consider this—research shows grateful couples consistently reported higher levels of satisfaction in their relationships and also felt closer to each other than those who weren’t grateful.
It turns out gratitude creates an ongoing cycle of generosity, appreciation, and more gratitude.
It starts out with you being grateful for your partner. You then start appreciating them and the things they do. You become more caring and attentive as you recognize how valuable they are. This, in turn, leads you to put more effort into maintaining your relationship. After all, a valuable partner is worth holding on to.
As a result, your partner picks up on this and feels more appreciated and valued. They, in turn, feel good about having someone as thoughtful, kind, and loving as you in their lives, causing them to also start working on maintaining the relationship. In the end, your relationship thrives thanks to your joint efforts.
Gratitude & Communication Go Hand-in-Hand
Where to start with gratitude can be tough. It may be beneficial for both of you to take the relationship love languages test so you can see how your partner prefers to receive love and appreciation and vice versa.
For instance, say your significant other’s love languages are acts of service and words of affirmation. To express gratitude to your partner, maybe you take their car for an oil change or do the dishes when it was their turn to do them. It would also be important to verbally appreciate your partner, rather than relying on them intuiting your gratitude from actions alone.
Even if words of affirmation is not your partner’s love language, it is important to communicate your gratitude to your partner. Everyone likes to know they’re appreciated, whether at work or at home. So next time you notice something simple—like the trash was taken out without asking, or your partner picked you up your favorite snack—take a moment to verbally express your gratitude.
It can feel a little unnatural at first, especially if it’s not something you are used to doing, but it will pay off in the long run as you face the years together with your partner.
An Attitude of Gratitude is Good for All
Gratitude isn’t just good for your romantic relationships, it spills over into other relationships in your life. Being grateful for the people in your life can also help improve your relationships with your kids, co-workers, parents, siblings, and friends. Furthermore, it can improve your outlook on life, making you a happier person overall.
So the next time you catch yourself feeling disgruntled and under-appreciated in your relationship, take a break and think of all the things that make you grateful for your partner and watch your relationship blossom anew.
About the Author
Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and freelancer, with experience in writing and outreach for parent and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has offered humor and research backed advice to readers on parenting tactics, problems in education, issues with social media, mental disorders, addiction, and troublesome issues raising teen boys. Connect with Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin