6 years ago, I met my husband while vacationing in Italy and we married 3 months later. Our relationship started with each of us showing our best selves, which is quite often what people do. We were kind, generous, giving and appreciative. But over time, we started to get comfortable. Life happened and frustrations became more commonplace. And we leaned towards being less appreciative, as the nice things that were once done became expectations. And we know that when expectations aren’t met, resentment can develop. But I found that this can be thwarted by expressing gratitude towards your spouse.
Gratitude, which is the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful, has so may benefits. Research shows that how much you feel and express gratitude directly relates to how satisfied you are in your marriage. And surprisingly, how much you feel gratitude predicts you spouses marital satisfaction as well. It’s also important to note that those who express gratitude tend to have a more positive perception of their partner. So taking the time to express and feel gratitude towards your spouse, can allow you to reap these benefits.
Consider these ways to improve your marriage by expressing gratitude towards your spouse today:
Say thank you
Perhaps the easiest and most overlooked way of expressing gratitude is by saying thank you more often. After being married for a while, you may begin expecting your spouse to do things. And you might not realize how important it is to thank them. Even if what they did was as simple as holding the door for you or making you dinner, say thank you. People like to feel appreciated for what they do. Think about this, doesn’t it feel good when you do something for someone, they thank you and you can feel that they appreciate you? If you can recognize this, then be sure to give your spouse this amazing feeling as well. Allow them to continue to feel that they are contributing to the health of the relationship and their actions please you.
Praise with specificity
Be specific in how you express appreciation for your spouse. Don’t just say that you’re happy with them. Say instead, “I appreciate that you listened to how I felt about the argument I had with my colleague”. Or, “I appreciate that you made dinner today”. It’s important to be specific in your praise as vague praise isn’t nearly as effective.
Compliment your spouse
Tell them about their qualities that you are most grateful for. Even if you’ve said it before, say it again. Your spouse needs to hear the things about them that you love. Sometimes we get use to thinking about the qualities of our spouses that we want to change. Ensure, instead, that you’re spending more time on compliments than issues.
Express your love for your spouse
Whether that’s with saying I love you or with a hug, express to your partner that you love them and care about them, in the way in which they’ll receive it. And continually express your love for them, don’t let this be a one time thing. We can get caught up in the day to day of life, but don’t put this on the back burner.
Gratitude is something so simple to understand with such great benefits, but not as often used. If you want to see an increase in your marital satisfaction as well as that of your spouse, begin feeling and expressing gratitude towards your spouse today. Just taking a couple minutes out of your day to do this, can drastically improve your marriage.