Thanksgiving is right around the corner and you’ve probably seen all kinds of gratitude challenges and other hype about expressing your gratitude for those you love. It is the season of gratitude and it’s important to be thankful – especially towards your partner. But with all the gratitude challenges and other hoopla around being thankful it’s hard to tell your partner “thank you” this time of year without it seeming artificial or something on your to-do list. So as a relationship counselor I thought I’d help you out. Here are three tips to show your partner gratitude this holiday season that your partner is sure to enjoy.
#1 Point out the good things and be SPECIFIC
Couples frequently come into therapy with hopes of reaching their ideal relationship, but tend to focus on the negatives of their relationship and/or their partner. Instead, take time to pause and think about the good things in your relationship. What does your partner do that makes you smile or make you feel good? What are good parts of your relationship that you hope will never change? Maybe you are struggling to think about what is CURRENTLY working well because you and your partner have been having problems for so long. That’s ok! Think back to the beginning of your relationship. What attracted you to your partner? What were the good things during that time that might have dwindled away?
Once you have identified the good things, tell your partner about them and be SPECIFIC about what it was that you thought/felt was good. Key them in to the things that you like so they know what to continue. Also, if you notice your partner doing something that you appreciate, tell them in the moment and specify what exactly they did that made you so happy.
#2 Show your gratitude in different ways
Gratitude does not have to (only) come from the traditional “thank you”. Many times, couples coming into therapy who feel under appreciated acknowledge that their partner already says “thank you”. However, they say that these words do not mean anything to them if there are no actions to back it up. Gratitude can be expressed in many ways. For example, take time to listen to your partner, help them out when they need an extra hand, spend time with them, give them physical affection, praise them in front of others, or write them a thank you note. There are lots of ways to show your partner that you’re grateful. Here are a few Ultimately, these actions will show your partner how grateful you are in a way that saying “thank you” can’t.
#3 Act grateful
There are many tasks that need to get done on a daily basis that are expected, but that are under appreciated and unacknowledged. Maybe you and your partner are both working, sharing in the household responsibilities, raising children, etc. But, how often do you show or tell your partner that you appreciate the day-in and day-out tasks that they do? Take time to recognize the hard work that your partner does and express your gratefulness for what they do. By becoming more aware of the things that your partner does on a regular basis, your daily appreciation for your partner will increase and you will start to look for the positives rather than negatives. In return, your partner will appreciate the effort that you are putting forth in recognizing the work that they do for the relationship, household, and/or finances.
Now that you have read these tips on how to show your partner gratitude, practice them all year round! Although the upcoming holidays tend to be when people express their gratitude to their loved ones, challenge yourself to do this all year! Your reward will be a relationship full of recognition, gratitude, and praise.
Amanda Cummins is an intern with The Marriage and Family Clinic. She focuses on working with couples in distress as well as families and children in transitions. As a Denver Native, Amanda enjoys hiking, yoga, and spending time with her family.