The Impact of Gratitude on Relationships
(Please note that this post was originally featured on the blog for A Better Life Therapy)
My life – and my work – is devoted to helping people cultivate more joy in their lives, their homes, and their relationships.
In studying relationships and the science of happiness, one of the quickest, easiest ways I’ve found to infuse a partnership with joy is encouraging the practice of gratitude. Whether it’s appreciating your partner for putting away the dishes, letting them know how much it meant to you to get to sneak off on a hike or a yoga class, or leaving a note telling them what a great parent you think they are – gratitude is like money in the bank for your relationship.
Some studies even show that the positive impacts of acts of gratitude can last up to 6 months after the fact, and that partners who feel appreciated for doing the bulk of the housework tend to perceive the division of labor in their relationship as being more equal and fair than do partners who don’t feel appreciated for tending to domestic chores. See how far a little gratitude can go?
One of the things I love most about what I do in the world is that it also requires me to show up in my own relationship and practice what I preach. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not always easy, even as a professional!
One of the first things I go to when things get rough is showing my husband gratitude. It’s easy, it’s free, and even when I’m super frustrated, I can always think of a reason to be grateful for him. He’s kind. Creative. Hardworking. An amazing dad. And he’s almost always the one to put the clean dishes away.
As a fan of Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, my efforts go even farther when I find a way to express my thanks in his primary love language, which is quality time. It’s an amazing way to show him that I care, and it almost always turns into an opportunity for us to connect and have fun together.
The best part is, gratitude given freely and frequently is often returned, so it has become a two-way practice for us to make sure to show each other we notice, we appreciate, and we care.”
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