While I’m not American, I have strong ties to North America, including family members who live in the United States.
So while we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day in Australia, I love the idea of taking time to pause and reflect on what you’re thankful and grateful for in your life.
It’s been shown that couples that demonstrate gratitude to one another feel more positive about the relationship and feel more comfortable raising concerns with each other about their relationship.
So it’s worth considering ways you can improve your relationship through the use of gratitude.
Ways to cultivate gratitude in your relationship
- Write a thank-you note: Simply writing a thank-you note to your partner expressing gratefulness can be effective in letting them know that you appreciate them. This can be done very simply and quickly and have an immediate positive effect on your relationship. Thank you partner for emptying the dishwasher, picking up the kids from school, taking the rubbish out, cooking a nice meal, or just for being there. This is a simple practice that you can start to implement today and notice the increase in positive responses from your partner.
- Keep a gratitude journal: A gratitude journal is a diary where you write down all the things you’re grateful for on a regular basis. The nice thing about a gratitude journal is you can keep revisiting it again and again when you’re feel flat or down, or perhaps need a little mood boost in the middle of a busy day. By reflecting on what you’re grateful for, you can start to better regulate your own emotions and moods, which leads to more positive interactions with your partner.
- Thank your partner directly: Don’t forget that you can look your partner directly in the eye and thank them for something or express how grateful you are. Make sure you stop your partner and make clear and direct eye contact with them to make sure your message gets through. The eyes really are the windows to the soul, so making good eye contact while expressing gratitude amplifies the positive feelings between you.
- Meditate on gratitude: This is my personal favourite. If you have a regular meditation practice, make one day of the week a time where you devote your meditation to gratitude. For me this is Saturdays, so I always know when I meditate on a Saturday, I spend the last 5-10 minutes of my meditation reflecting on all the things I am grateful for in my life. Reflect on all the wonderful things your partner does for you and thank them for being them.
A gratitude meditation for your relationship
You don’t need to formally meditate to practice gratitude. It can be done when you’re sitting quietly on your own having a cup of tea or coffee, or just pausing in a quiet space in your day, taking time to reflect and be mindful.
So in the spirit of a gratitude meditation for your relationship, here are some phrases you can contemplate next time you create some space to reflect on your relationship.
If you’re not currently in a relationship, you can still use the gratitude meditation, but just focus on a friend or family member instead.
A Gratitude Meditation for My Relationship
Thank you to my partner for being in my life.
Thank you to my partner for choosing to be with me.
Thank you for the health of my partner.
Thank you for the happiness of my partner.
Thank you for the joy and laughter in our relationship.
Thank you for bringing us challenges in our relationship.
Thank you for the rewards in our relationship.
Thank you for the loving times in our relationship.
Thank you for the difficult times in our relationship.
Thank you for the peace and contentment in our relationship.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.