During the Thanksgiving season, there is a lot of talk about being thankful and grateful for what we have. I agree this is a good thing to do. I would add that it is important to have an attitude of gratitude all year long. What we tend to give in relationships, we tend to get back.
One of the 7 principles in Dr. John Gottman’s book, The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, is called Fondness and Admiration. This simply means there is a sense of warmth and appreciation in your relationship. Most of us have been brought up to say “please” and “thank you.” It is just being polite. I like to encourage my couples to take that politeness one step further. When you say thank you, share with your partner why you appreciate what he or she has done for you. For example, let’s say it is your turn to do the dishes and you are not feeling well. You tell your partner you will do them after you take a nap. During your nap, your partner does the dishes for you. When you wake up you are pleasantly surprised! Take a moment to make a big deal about what your partner did. You could say, “What a thoughtful thing to do! I was feeling really badly and dreading the energy it would take to do the dishes. Now I don’t have to. I can spend the extra time relaxing with you. Thank you!”
Remember, being appreciative does not need to be a big gesture. In fact, it is the smaller, more consistent acts of kindness that means the most to our partner. According to the Gottman research, it is the small things often that are most important and impactful. So, as you gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks and appreciation.