Let’s be honest – marriage isn’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to stop yourself from literally losing it when you see him leave his socks two inches from the hamper for the hundredth time. The Great Sock Frustration (as I call it) can build into a heap of resentment. So, instead of letting it affect my relationship, I decided to find a way to nip it in the bud by finding something to thank him for each and every day. It’s made a world of difference.
A simple “thank you” is more powerful than anything money can buy.
I used to think that a bouquet of flowers or a shiny piece of jewelry were the best signs of a man’s appreciation for me. Then I realized how many miserable rich couples there were out there. Check out the two living in the White House. It wasn’t until I was stuck in a relationship with a rich guy who didn’t otherwise appreciate me that I truly understood this. Feeling appreciated goes a long way when you’re living with someone because it’s easy to assume that the work you put in is going unnoticed.
Think of all the relationships that end because one person didn’t feel appreciated.
I have a book full of exes who fall into this category. I have been in countless relationships with guys who wouldn’t notice all of the efforts I put into the little things: cleaning the apartment, stocking the cupboard with the snacks he likes or hiding my feminine products to keep the mystery alive. I would watch him walk into the apartment and breeze right by the freshly mopped floor and failed to appreciate my painfully waxed Brazilian. COME ON.
We’re all bound to meet stress in our marriage – be grateful, not critical.
Whether the stress is due to tight finances after a job loss or emotional distress due to infertility, it’s easy to point fingers and become critical of each other. My husband and I were at this point when I decided to start this “thank you” project. I didn’t tell him I was doing it, but slowly slipped gratitude into our day. Almost immediately I noticed that it was uplifting for him. In a week’s time, he caught on and thanked me daily in return.
Instead of “sorry”, try “thank you”.
The word “sorry” seems to have lost its meaning hasn’t it? It gets thrown around more than a tennis ball in the U.S. Open. “I’m sorry” puts a band-aid on the issue, while finding a way to say “thank you” after an argument provides a shield around any of the toxic effects from your conflicts. I know you’re thinking that the last thing you want to do in an argument is to feel grateful, but this is why it works so well – it forces those toxics feelings from your mind. We all know that you’re right most of the time because, duh, but just give it a shot.
Don’t just take my word for it – trust science.
A study done by scientists at the University of Georgia found that gratitude consistently predicts how happy someone will feel in their marriage. Couples who are more grateful for each other reported that they were closer, happier and more committed to each other.
It can be short and sweet.
Sometimes, after a long day at work, I can only manage to squeeze out an ounce of positivity. On those days, I thank him for loving me even when I’m cranky. He often leaves me a short note scribbled on a post-it on my closet mirror or a text in the middle of the workday. It doesn’t have to be a scheduled nightly performance or a long list of things like something your mother forced you to write down about your little brother. Keep it simple, but consistent.
Being thanked promotes more good behavior.
I hate to relate humans to dogs, but here goes: when a dog is rewarded for peeing in the backyard instead of in your shoe closet, he’s more likely to keep up the good behavior. Hopefully, you and your spouse aren’t peeing in the shoe closet, but you get the gist. The more he feels appreciated, the more effort he’ll put into the relationship.
The benefits come from both feeling gratitude for your partner as well as appreciated by your partner for receiving it.
Like the feeling you get from doing any sort of good deed, your spouse will feel great, in turn making you feel great. To top it all off, if he is also thanking you for something daily, you’ll get double the warm and fuzzy feelings. It’ll be like living in an episode of the Care Bears – which was basically my dream as a child.
It really does make our marriage epic.
Stresses and arguments will come and go, but as long as we aren’t losing sight of the appreciate we have for each other, we know that everything is going to be fine. A truly happy marriage IS possible and … did I just find the key to it? You’re welcome!
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