Show Some Gratitude, Will Ya?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are all safely snuggled up at home with friends, family and loved ones today…preferably by a roaring fireplace and enjoying a nice adult beverage. 🙂

So what’s Thanksgiving all about? Why, being thankful, of course! And, being grateful for all the wonderful things that you DO have in your life.

We all have a tendency to focus on the half-empty part of the glass, don’t we?  What we long for, what we feel is missing…  So today, let’s instead focus on all the things that we are happy and grateful to have in our lives. For me, I’m grateful for my wonderful husband, my sweet little dog and our cozy home.  I’m grateful that we have paying jobs and that we are healthy. I’m grateful that we have supportive families and amazing friends. And, I’m grateful for all of you who read this blog!  Thank you for joining me in my musings.

What are you grateful for?

So, it wouldn’t be a Couple-tastic post if I didn’t drop some research or something to think about on you, right?  How about we think a little bit about whether we are expressing our gratitude enough to those around us? Life moves very fast and it’s easy to forget to show our love and appreciation.

Overall, gratitude has two powerful influences on positive relationship behavior. When we express gratitude to a partner, we increase the chances that they will behave well towards us in the future. When we feel gratitude, we increase the chance that we will behave well towards them. If our partner feels grateful for our good behavior as well, then a positive cycle develops. Everybody is grateful…and everybody behaves lovingly.

Focus on both the feeling and expression of gratitude to create a good interaction. This is important, whether it is a first date, or after years of marriage. Follow these tips:

1) Feel Gratitude – Pay attention to the positive and supportive behaviors of your date or mate. Take note when they do something positive and effortful that benefits you. This will bring out your feelings of appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness for their efforts. It will also motivate you to value your partner and treat him/her well in return.

2) Show Thanks – Also, when you notice that your partner has done something good for you, be sure to thank them. Show them that you appreciate their efforts. Write them a note. Say thank you. Give them a kiss or a hug. Do something nice in return. Such expressions of gratitude will motivate his/her future loving behavior. It serves as a reinforcement to encourage the behaviors you desire as well.

3) Look for Appreciation – Because gratitude motivates loving behavior, it is important that your date or mate is grateful for what you do for them too. So, do something loving for them (that you know is important to them and they like). Then, see whether they notice, appreciate it, and show gratitude in some way. If they do, then a positive cycle of gratitude and loving behavior can develop between you both. Keep it up! If they don’t appreciate your efforts, however, especially after multiple attempts, then other influence might be warranted.

4) Troubleshoot (When Necessary) – If you seem to have an ungrateful partner, there are a four fixes to try:

  • First, make sure your loving behaviors are what THEY want and need. Gratitude is created by you being responsive to their needs, not just doing what you want (even if it is a lot of work).
  • Second, make sure that you are not missing their appreciative behaviors. Sometimes partners do “thankful” things that are easy to miss, or don’t mean much to you. So, keep your eyes peeled. Also, talk with them. Tell them what YOU like. See whether they do it.
  • Third, evaluate whether your partner is invested in the relationship and appreciates you in general. Doing too much for them, without asking for things in return, can result in you being taken for granted…not appreciated. If that is the case, then take a break, ask for things, and let them put something into the relationship.
  • Finally, if none of those solutions work, or you find yourself with an ungrateful date at the beginning, it might be a good idea to re-evaluate your options. When someone is truly unappreciative, think about dumping them for someone who is thankful. Otherwise, it can be a long, loveless, and thankless journey.

I hope these tips and thoughts were helpful to you today! Happy Thanksgiving!

Let’s discuss what you are grateful to have in your life and what more you could do to show the people important to you that you are grateful for them and all that they do…

Thank you Psychology Today  for today’s tips….

Photo credit: David Ashford’s Flickr photostream

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Categories: Tips

Author:coupletastic

I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better place...one relationship at a time.

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2 Comments on “Show Some Gratitude, Will Ya?”

  1. December 5, 2011 at 3:37 am #

    Thanks Wheelers! 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Liebster Award for ‘We are The Wheelers’! | We are the Wheelers - November 29, 2011

    […] a relationship can enjoy her writing.  I especially loved her Thanksgiving day post titled “Show Some Gratitude, Will Ya?”  What a great piece of advice… to show your loved ones that you appreciate them all […]

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