“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
Gratitude is one of the few things in a marriage that can instantly and measurably improve a couple’s relationship. The benefits of gratitude are calculable and act as a booster shot for romance. When you are in a romantic rut, try infusing your relationship with a little gratitude. When you do this, you’ll become more elevated, energized and inspired to love better.
So, are you ready to add more gratitude to your relationship? Chances are we could all use a little boost! Today, we are sharing four proven and effective tips for couples on achieving this. Let’s dive in.
1. Make Gratitude Your Thing
Research reveals that people who intentionally focus on gratitude are happier. After all, your life is never more filled with joy than when you are conscious of your blessings. People who focus on being intentionally grateful are happier than most. These people report positive overall feelings. They also have fewer negative complaints about life, tend to be more grateful towards others, and simply put, enjoy a higher quality of life!
All it takes is a conscious effort to be mindful of your blessings each and every day. Gratitude is a discipline. You can choose to be more grateful and make it your thing. You will find that once you decide to be more grateful, gratitude appears. So the first step in bringing more gratitude into your life and your relationship is merely choosing to be thankful. It’s as simple as that.
2. Curb Complaints
Nothing extinguishes gratitude more quickly in a relationship than complaining – especially in a marriage. It’s easy to fall into the trap of grumbling – in fact the average person complains between twenty and thirty times per day. Yikes! We complain out of habit; a poor habit that needs to be broken.
How can you curb the complaints in your relationship? Research says it takes 21-days to form a new habit. However, 21-days may be difficult for some. We challenge you to try this little trick – even if only for a week (or more). When you catch your partner complaining, form a little “C” with your hand. When you see your partner with this little signal, simply respond with “thank you” and that’s it! Don’t condemn or correct. If you can do this for seven days, you will likely see your complaining diminish and your gratitude rise.
3. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Did you know that people who write their goals down (as opposed to just thinking about them) are 33 percent more likely to accomplish them? There’s something powerful about writing things down. And this certainly applies to gratitude! Research shows that by taking the time to consciously count your blessings once per week on paper, you will significantly increase the satisfaction of your life in six short weeks (although we hope you continue longer that this)! You will also experience longer lasting positive effects.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Don’t just go through the motions. The act of journaling will do nothing if your heart isn’t in it. Be sure you also make a conscious decision to become more grateful.
- Go for depth over breadth. Details over one thing will carry greater weight than a superficial list of many things.
- Get personal. Focusing on people (especially your spouse) will have greater impact than focusing on things.
- Try subtraction, not just addition. When you reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, this can be eye opening.
- Savor surprises. Record events that were unexpected or surprising. These events will elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
- Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally when something really strikes you (one time per week) will be more beneficial than daily journaling.
4. Plan a Gratitude Visit
This can be challenging for some, but is also very rewarding. Especially if you and your spouse can do this together. We recommend you write a thoughtful note thanking someone special. This can be a teacher, pastor, grandparent or community member. Anyone who has made an impact on you. And then visit that person and read your letter of appreciation. You’re sure to see a surge of joy wash over the person you are thanking, and yourself as well.
It’s impossible to separate gratitude from happiness. You can’t have one without the other. It’s also impossible to exaggerate on what gratitude can do to boost the level of happiness in your marriage. Our prayer is that this post helps you and your partner infuse your relationship with more gratitude. And if you would like to explore more on the benefits of being grateful, check out our book Making Happy.
What are some of the ways you and your partner boost the gratitude meter in your relationship? We’d love to hear from you!