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You Go First: Practicing Gratitude in Your Relationship

One of the best ways to strengthen your connection is to consciously introduce more appreciation and gratitude in your relationship. You can initiate positive change by looking for opportunities to acknowledge and thank your partner. 

The last couple of months have shaken your world and routine. All the moving parts that fit together and created a life that was dynamic and satisfying have been upended. Things are not the same. 

You have experienced loss and have made big adjustments. You may feel that it was expected of you to adapt, that you automatically agreed to go with the new flow, or that no one really asked. You may be waiting to be recognized for the extraordinary efforts you’ve made and for what you’ve given up. 

Here’s a new way of looking at it:

Don’t Wait to be Acknowledged, Recognized, or Appreciated. You Go First. 

YOU can be the one to stop and notice that your partner has made a huge change in priorities, work and relationships. Simply see, understand and appreciate what your partner has given up and how they are taking on new roles. Find ways to acknowledge and affirm in words and gestures and don’t just let it go unsaid.

How to Acknowledge and Show Gratitude to Your Partner

Try to pay attention when your partner is missing something from the old ‘normal’ life. For example, is your partner under pressure to do the same job in fewer hours? Is it frustrating to be responsible for a team that no longer meets in person? Find opportunities to say that you really get how challenging it is to juggle work and family life and that you appreciate their hard work. 

Play around with different ways to show your appreciation a few times a day and as close to the event as possible. You can express gratitude in a text message, email, a post-it note, or a hug.

Make an effort to observe and remember actions that your partner does for you and for others. You may even want to write them down. 

When you thank your partner in words, try and be specific about the character trait that their gesture reveals about them and how it makes you feel. If your partner makes you coffee in the morning, you can say, “Thanks for making my coffee. It made me feel looked after and was so thoughtful of you.”

Consider giving your partner extra time or taking on one of their chores. You could say, for example, “I can see you’ve had a rough day. I’ll put the kids to bed tonight – why don’t you go and unwind with Netflix?”

Acknowledging your partner rather than focusing on the disappointments and frustrations is something that does take practice if you’re not used to being on the lookout for things to appreciate.

The good news is that learning to acknowledge your partner and express gratitude is like toning a muscle that’s out of shape or has never been used. You can make it stronger and change your mindset and your relationship through daily practice.

As you develop this habit of noticing and showing your gratitude, your partner will feel more seen and appreciated and you will both feel more connected. 

Expressing gratitude doesn’t take much time. But you can be sure that it goes a long way.

Want to revitalize your relationship? I can help you with my Relationship Reset for Couples.

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