‘Tis the week of gratitude in the United States, and I’d like to ask you a question: When your loved ones do something nice for you, do you experience gratitude in response? Or do you feel feel in some way that you owe them back?
If it’s the latter, I want to tell you what gratitude itself does for your relationship, so you can relax and give when it’s authentic, and experience more love and connection.
We’re probably aware of what happens to a relationship when we take each other for granted. Every day, we do small things for each other: cooking dinner, taking out the trash, buying groceries, putting gas in the car…. and after a while, we feel that these things are their “job,” not something to feel grateful for.
However, research shows that when you do notice these small acts of kindness and feel grateful, the relationship benefits.
Dr. Algoe and colleagues conducted a study* where couples wrote down the nice things their partner did that day and how they felt about it, the relationship, and the quality of their connection.
They found that on the days that even just one partner felt grateful, both partners felt more connected and satisfied with the relationship on the following day. That’s just feeling gratitude, not doing something in return.
So it may sound silly to say “thank you” for every little thing your partner does (though it also makes both of you feel good to say it 😉 but if you can take a moment and feel grateful for your partner’s kind acts, both of you can feel more connected.
I’d like you to ask yourself, What small or big things can you feel grateful for right now, from the people in your life?
If you feel disconnected from your partner (or anyone you live with) and you want to feel more connected, perhaps try this experiment yourself: every night for a week, write down the small kind things they did that day and take a few moments to feel grateful. Watch what happens to your connection!
Let me know how it goes on the comments below 🙂
Could you use some help to untangle what is a happening for you in your relationship? I offer a limited number of GIFT Relationship Breakthrough sessions each month.