The more couples are able to look for, and acknowledge, positive qualities and happenings in their relationship, the more trust and admiration is built in the relationship. One example of a benefit of this is demonstrated in a study that found that folks who took time to express gratitude for their partner felt more positive toward their partner, and this helped interrupt negative communication patterns in their relationship that resulted from stress. This is because fondness and admiration helps build a strong bond that makes it easier to weather the storms of life.
So how can you create more of this? Here is a simple exercise. Look for ways to give appreciations, at least once a day, and make a point to share these with your partner. Here are some examples of what you can say when you notice something to appreciate:
- Thanks for being such a great mom/dad. (Give specifics)
- I really appreciate you being so affectionate lately. (Give specifics)
- Thanks for helping out with the dishes (or other task)!
- Taking a walk together was really nice.
- I want to thank you for the card and the great words on it.
- You look great in that.
- Thank you for caring about what I need.
- Thanks for making me feel like I come first in your life.
- I’m really proud of you. (Give specifics)
- Thanks for just being there when I needed to feel support.
For more examples of how to give appreciations check out the Gottman Card Deck App and look for the give appreciation deck.
It is important to keep practicing! Gratitude helps us refocus on what we have instead of what we don’t have. Even though an exercise like this may feel a bit contrived at first, this “attitude of gratitude” grows stronger with use and practice and has great benefits for our relationship!