Tips for Expressing Gratitude

Expressing gratitude to your spouse is one of the best things you can do to foster happiness in your marriage.  Feeling appreciated keeps the feeling of being respected and valued alive.  It helps us maintain an intimate bond with our mate.  It even impacts how committed we are to the relationship.  These are just a few of the positive effects of gratitude in marriage.  [See related article].

To varying degrees, all marriages experience a decline passion (e.g. romance) and intimacy (e.g. bondedness) after then newness of the relationship wears off.  Unfortunately this can cause couples to feel bored, less enthusiastic, dissatisfied, taken for granted, and a number of other negative emotional reactions.  This is a completely normal and predictable phenomenon that occurs regardless of the depth of a couple’s love for one another.

However, one of the ways that couples can offset these unwanted negative phases in the relationship is by simply demonstrating gratitude for one another.  Research from the University of California supports this notion in several ways.  They discovered that appreciation and gratitude helps couples: achieve the maximum satisfaction from their relationships, feel more positive about and connected to one another, bolster efforts to invest in and care for the relationship, and become reliably more happier and healthier in their relationship and in general.

Below are a few tips to help you express gratitude and appreciation to a greater degree in your marriage...

Be genuine – Most people can distinguish earnest appreciation from pleasantries dispensed out of obligation.  Your spouse can, too.  It’s good to form a habit of expressing gratefulness.  But consistency without sincerity is not nearly as meaningful.  Find a way to demonstrate that your gratitude is heartfelt.

Be specific – Another way to make expressions of gratitude more meaningful is to be specific regarding your feelings and thoughts.  Why do you appreciate your spouse?  Find a way to convey the precise reasons, qualities, characteristics, and so forth for which you are thankful.

Be dynamic – Words of gratitude are wonderful.  But they are much more meaningful when they are accompanied by appropriate body language.  Make eye contact.  Smile.  Embrace.  Be intentional.

Be creative – There are many ways to express appreciation.  Certainly saying “thank you” consistently is always appropriate.  But go beyond that.  Handwritten notes, text messages, small gifts, thoughtful favors, and public compliments are just a few ways to express your gratitude to your spouse.  You can think of others.

Be unpredictable – Mix it up.  Experiment with several different creative ways to show your appreciation to your spouse and see how he/she responds.  Also, express your gratitude in ways and at times that will not be expected.  Surprise and spontaneity are both key aspects of vitality in a marriage.

Be personal – One way to be personal is to express your gratitude in the manner to which your spouse is most responsive and finds most meaningful.  Another way is to make sure that you are not only showing appreciation exclusively for the “things” your spouse does – but also for the unique, internal, qualities that you admire.

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