I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton
Have you ever tried to improve your marriage? If so, you’ll know that it’s difficult because you’ve not seen much progress. So what do you do?
Gratitude: One Best Way To A Healthy Relationship
Michael Hyatt, a successful entrepreneur and author, told of a time when he was struggling in his marriage.
Someone challenged him to write down at least one thing daily that he was grateful for about his wife.
As he did this, he was surprised at his change of attitude toward his wife.
He wrote something every day in a journal, and at the end of 365 days, he’d fallen in love with his wife all over again.
He gave the journal to his wife at the end of that year, and it remains one of her favorite gifts till this day.
Gratitude Is Good For You!
Practicing gratitude will make you:
a) more hopeful and happier;
b) improve your sleep;
c) increase your helpfulness and empathy;
d) increase your self-esteem; and
e) increase resilience.
(Source: 5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude)
Check out this video from Dr. Christine Carter, PhD, about the science of gratitude.
Why Gratitude Produces A Healthy Relationship
Gratitude grows your self-worth.
When you thank your partner for specific actions, she knows that she provided something of value to you.
Gratitude is a complex social emotion that bonds us to each other.
When you notice and appreciate your partner and his actions, you’re showing empathy and love.
Gratitude helps us filter in all the positive characteristics and blessings from our reality.
This makes sense. Some of us are naturally optimistic. But many of us, myself included, have to discipline ourselves to look for the positive.
That’s why Scripture and other wisdom literature has commanded the practice of gratitude for years!
Our Creator knows that we thrive on giving thanks, and that it’s good for us!
Gratitude, practiced regularly, will create more positive interactions in our relationship.
Dr. John Gottman, PhD, author of The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work.
Over the course of years of practice and research, he studied behaviors that predicted future divorce in couples he worked with.
In this article, he wrote that healthy, stable marriages have a ratio of positive to negative interactions of 5:1 during conflict situations. However, in relationships headed for divorce, the ratio of positive to negative interactions is .8 to 1.
No matter how fake it feels, both you and your partner must commit to increasing positivity in your relationship. And practicing gratitude is one of the best ways to do that.
Gratitude Solutions For a Healthy Relationship
- Non-AS partners, please read my article, “One Way to Avoid Aspergers Relationship Difficulties.”
- Appreciate and thank each other with this weekend homework assignment from Dr. John Gottman.
- Play the Love Map Game together. Check out this detailed version of Love Maps to learn about your partner’s world, dreams, and preferences. You’ll each be grateful if you put some time in to these exercises!
- Write a gratitude list and review it daily. Aspergers relationship expert Eva Mendes advises us to make a list of at least 20 things about our partner that we’re grateful for. Add to the list daily. Keep it on your smart phone or near your computer. Review it regularly.
Now that you know one best way to a healthy relationship, you’re ready to practice gratitude and appreciation without worrying about what to try next.
photo credit: Gerald Good via photopin (license)