Giving Thanks: How Gratitude Can Save Your Relationship post image

Giving Thanks: How Gratitude Can Save Your Relationship


One of the first life lessons little kids are taught is to always say, “thank you.” When someone does something nice for you, you thank them. It’s a concept that is drummed into our heads starting at the age of about two. But you’ll notice that saying thanks doesn’t come easy. Very rarely does a kid remember to say it – it usually follows a prompt by a parent…now what do you say? And it never gets easier.

Gratitude doesn’t come easily or naturally to most of us; rather, it’s a skill that needs to be honed and crafted. But when you get it down, it can literally change your life. Countless studies have demonstrated that expressing gratitude can vastly increase our physical and emotional well-being.

Gratitude can also have enormous implications for your relationship…and your ability to find love if you aren’t currently in a relationship. When both partners see the good in one another and feel appreciative, the relationship is filled with love, connection, and harmony. When both partners focus on what the other isn’t doing and take each other for granted, the relationship is filled with resentment, frustration, and bitterness.

The truth is, a good relationship starts with you. When you bring positivity and happiness into the relationship, your partner will rise up to match and then your relationship will flourish. I’m not saying the responsibility is on the woman – it goes both ways. But the only person you can control is yourself.

If you want your life and your relationship to improve, you can’t blame circumstances or your partner. Instead, you need to take responsibility and make internal changes that lead to external ones. And the most important lesson is that of giving thanks.

Read on to find out how it’s done and why it’s so important.

Why Is It So Hard?
Life can tear a lot of us down. As the years go by, bitter experiences pile up and our hearts become shrouded with hurt and pain. The more jaded we become, the harder it is to see beyond the darkness and feel thankful for anything. A lot of us become the victims of our own lives and we feel justified in it. We blame our parents, our upbringing, the boy who broke our heart, the bad economy. I’m not saying none of it is valid, but when you dwell on all the bad hands you’ve been dealt, you fuel the fire of anger and resentment and this only makes for an even more miserable experience.

When it comes to relationships, expressing gratitude can be even more challenging because the stakes are so much higher. Romantic relationships can cause many emotions to rise to the surface…some are good and exhilarating, and some are bad and rooted in pain from the past. All of us look at life through a lens that is colored by our own experiences and we form certain expectations as a result. When you measure a guy against this code of expected behavior, he will always fall short and you will always feel disappointed. The reason he’ll fall short is because no one can get it right every single time. He isn’t a mind reader and he has been shaped by a whole different set of experiences.

QUIZ: Are You Sabotaging Your Relationship?

When you think a guy should do something, and if he doesn’t it means he doesn’t care, then you ignore all the things he does that show he does care and get all riled up because of a few things that you (or rather, your unconscious mind) think a man should do when he loves a woman. You feel hurt and unloved and might start blaming him for “making” you feel a certain way. When you’re in this head space, you will not be able to appreciate anything he does and will silently resent him for not doing more. He can text you back promptly every single time and you will still get upset the one time he takes a little longer to get back to you.

 

When You Appreciate A Man…

Everyone likes appreciation; we all want to be seen and acknowledged for what we do. But appreciation hits different notes for men and women. Typically, women want to feel adored and cherished above anything else in order to feel happy in a relationship. Men need to feel appreciated and acknowledged. If a man doesn’t feel that, he will either leave the relationship or will stay in it and feel miserable.

When a man feels like a woman appreciates him, he will go above and beyond to make her happy. It’s not just about appreciating what he does, it’s about appreciating who he is. What men want more than anything is a woman who is happy with him. That’s really it. And a woman who expresses gratitude and is happy with who he is and what he does is the woman he wants to commit himself to.

The more gratitude you feel for him, the more connected he will feel to you and the more he will come to appreciate you. I’m not saying you’re never allowed to be disappointed or upset with him, but there is a difference between disapproving of an action and disapproving of a person. You can express your discontent in a loving way that still conveys an appreciation for his character as opposed to a punishing and blaming way that makes him feel bad or guilty.

If you want more love from your man, you need to make him feel loved and the way to do this is to show genuine appreciation for the things he does. Look at the intention, not the action. He’s not going to get it right every single time – that just isn’t possible. But the majority of the time, his intentions are good. He set out to make you happy and that deserves to be appreciated. You don’t need to give him anything in return – just you being happy with who he is and what he does is all he needs from you.

 

How to Train Yourself to Be More Grateful
Now that we’ve covered why it’s important to be grateful, let’s talk about tangible ways to do it.

I think the most powerful way to re-train your mind to be more grateful is to keep a gratitude journal. A teacher of mine gave me this suggestion many years ago and I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. I considered myself a very grateful person and did not see how this would benefit me at all.  But then I gave it a try and wow…it was not as easy as I expected. My teacher told me to write down three things I was grateful for every day. Easy enough. The catch was that they always had to be different, as in no reruns.

As the days passed and the exercise got a little more difficult, I noticed myself changing. I started to live every day actively looking for things to be grateful for. Usually this was because I wanted to come up with three things and just be done with it, like getting in an early morning workout. I thought it would only continue to get harder but a funny thing happened after a few weeks…it actually got easier. And soon, I was finding way more than just three new things to be grateful for each day. I kept going with this for months and can affirm that it is absolutely life- changing. I felt so calm and so at ease and just happier all around.

If you are having trouble in your relationship, I highly suggest … (continued – Click to keep reading Giving Thanks: How Gratitude Can Save Your Relationship)

16 comments… add one

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teri

I must be one of the few who don’t have a trouble showing and telling someone how grateful I am. It’s been ingrained since my childhood and no matter if its a hubby, BF, girlfriend, coworker I always let them know how much I appreciate it. Even if its not reciprocated because I control me.
In my relationship now I can see how happy he is when he does something or surprises me knowing I’ll enjoy it or whatever. He is like a little child tryna show off just to make mommy smile. And he wins every time whether in effort or intention he’s a winner in my book. I let him know with hugs, kisses, words etc just how much he means to me and its true, it makes him want to do more and gives him a sense of “victory’. this works in vice versa also.
It really makes for a melodious and smooth relationship.

Reply September 18, 2015, 1:13 pm

cheryl

I have been trying to be more positive about my relationship w my boyfriend, it seems like it has taken forever, but we are at the stage where next month I am getting a house, and we will start our lives together. It’s a little scary, I have been there before, with someone else, but I have learned and grown as a person, and am scared but excited to start fresh with this man. I have noticed that everything you write about is true, when you are happy, accepting of yourself, and try to present a good front, you can move mountains. Yes it is difficult, but it is so true, when you smile at a crabby person, it takes away from them, and gives to you. I try to tell my boyfriend I love him, show him, but I know I need to be even more giving of a good healthy attitude, and I will get even more joy and happiness from him, and in our relationship as a whole. Beginning tonight, I begin the gratitude diary to make myself, and then my relationship even better. Thank you for this GREAT advice.

Reply May 18, 2015, 8:57 pm

Leanora

Helpful — thank you.

Reply January 27, 2015, 6:45 pm

1stworldview

Moscow clubs capitalize on lonely women starved for affection.

Women sitting alone together in a café would not give most observers pause, but in Russia, a group of women alone acts as a reminder of the country’s deficiency in marriageable men. Lonely Russian women are commonplace in Moscow and other major Russian cities where men are dramatically outnumbered by the opposite sex. Mothers and daughters alike bemoan the lack of options available to them romantically. Men are not only scarce, but a good one is next to impossible to find.

Men in Russia are prone to alcoholism, unemployment, and abuse. Generations of women in Russia have witnessed the decline of the Russian man. Complaints about men’s rudderless existence and poor treatment of women have become a mainstay for gatherings of women, whether at home, at work, or in a social setting. Wherever women gather, the subject of men is not far behind. Some of these women have taken to dressing the part of the jilted lover awaiting rescue, donning dramatic gowns, complete with stiletto heels as they await their knight in shining armor. A knight that few Russian women continue to believe in or have any hope left will actually materialize.

Most women regale past experiences with men with very few pleasant memories. Even women that have been fortunate enough to be involved in a romance, the love quickly sours and is often replaced by resentment, disillusionment, and unhappiness. Russian women wish to wined and dined, and made to feel special. However, even promising men disappoint these notions, causing women to grow hardened as their hope of love and happily-ever-after slowly fades.

The first experience with men a Russian woman remembers is usually her father. Unfortunately, most of these fathers were of no better ilk than the men available for dating at present. Russian women are often raised bearing witness to drunken fathers, heavy drinking, financial insecurities due to lack of motivation to work, and verbal and physical abuse against their mothers. These formative memories create the foundation for a lifelong distrust of men in general, and each subsequent undesirable male encountered is further evidence that the female opinion of Russian men is justified.

To answer the demand for good, decent men, clubs have been emerging across Russia to provide women with the means the experiences they have long craved. One club, Marusia, has taken the concept a step further. Many clubs will have male-based entertainment for women to enjoy. Marusia offers services for women to be in close proximity, if not actual contact, with a desirable man. Women may pay between a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars for the privilege of cuddling with male employees for the experience of closeness and physical connection they cannot find elsewhere.

Starved for affection and love, some patrons of Marusia will request men to spend time with in private rooms. 50% of Russian women are single, with few prospects of a lasting relationship on the horizon. Marusia and clubs like it help these women fill a void, even for a few hours before they resume their search for men that can step into the role of lover, partner, and provider.

Many Russian women consider their future bleak, as the hopes of marriage and companionship become less likely. Some critics believe that these situations are, in some part, created by the women themselves, citing that Russian women are too obsessed with finances and fairy tales. It could be argued in their defenses, that as the lonely fates of these Russian women looms over their heads, cynicism increases and practicality prevail, and the romantic ideals of the past morph into merely desires to be cared for.

Russian women have begun to turn to mail order bride sites to find a husband . Companies like A Foreign Affair have been capitalizing on the demand for marriage minded husbands. Every month they bring groups of men to Russian and the Ukraine. The women attend what A Foreign Affair calls a social, hundreds of young beautiful Russian women attend these events with the hope to get the chances to meet of 25 or so men that have traveled from the USA of Europe. 23 Year old Olga from Odessa say, “I have give up looking for a man in the Ukraine, I have no problem finding a date, but finding a man I would want to be the father of my children is a completely different thing. I want a man my children can admire and respect. I want a man that will be by friend, my soul mate and my lover”

Reply January 3, 2015, 1:58 am

Charlene P. Cabigas

Hi Sabrina thanks much for this article, it helped me a lot in my relationship right now. Looking forward to more advices. 🙂

Reply December 11, 2014, 5:33 am

Cie

I love my man. I am grateful for what he has, every day. You can’t ask someone for what they can’t give. That’s a rule. That opens up other dimensions to our friendship, our knowing each other, our relationship. This is a man I feel tender towards, who surprises and delights me, who fills my image of ‘what is a man.’ I promised myself just to accept him, and consequently, I have been happy with him every day, or mostly, for nearly three years. He is an inspiration, a friend, a lover, someone I trust. He brings out the best in me quite often. I feel growth in my life as a result of our relationship. He is not there for me on an every day basis, still he moves me and delights me . I like the happy things in life. <3 <3 = Love!

Reply December 10, 2014, 11:03 pm

Deborah

Wow Sabrina. This was really a great article! This just happened to me and made me realize I do look to my past relationship(marriage) which has been over for 17 years but being I just started dating 5 years ago and I have a issue which trust thanks to him. So after seeing the same man the past few years it’s now ended because of my trust issues. Thank you.

Reply December 10, 2014, 10:09 pm

rosa

thank you very much! you are really a HELPING Angel!

Reply December 10, 2014, 8:35 pm

Diana

I really needed to read this. Was so wound up and angry the past three days. But now realise that I cannot control him and there is no point calling him to scream and cry, because he will hate me eventually. But this approach, telling him how much I appreciate him and all his efforts, I think he was so shocked and now we are amicable again 🙂

Reply December 2, 2014, 3:22 am

Mary

I have watched a man I know bloom and spring into action when I showed him my greatfulness for things he has done for me. But it turned when he met another woman and he came back at me saying that I was just saying nice things to use him. I realize he must be lacking something inside himself to say this hurtful response. I withdrew from him and we became distant. The other woman coming into his life was sudden and his behavior has changed with it. I still remain the same with him when I do hear from him …I have and still remained greatful to him for his efforts of getting me out of a jam I was in. But I can’t understand why he could not accept my compliments and treat me with respect.

Reply November 27, 2014, 11:49 am

Annie

I had the same thing, kinda. This guy always would show gratitude towards me when I took care of him and I always would show gratitude towards him when he’d help me but every time I would thank him he’d say he hasn’t done anything for me and talk down about himself saying he’s an asshole and scumbag. He broke up with me but I still think about him and thank him in my prayers because he taught me so much about myself.

Reply November 27, 2014, 11:59 am

Shantae

This was a lovely article! I will be referring to this on my journey to inner peace.

Reply November 27, 2014, 8:01 am

Rena

Amazing article, thank you very much! I will read it over and over again

Reply November 27, 2014, 6:18 am

maambo

thankyou..
some food for thought

Reply November 27, 2014, 5:11 am

Annie

Can this work for men? Like if a man doesn’t show gratitude or doesn’t feel like they’re in the right place, they can sabotage? I know there is a lot of advice for women on here but what about advice for men. It’s not only women who struggle in relationships.

Reply November 26, 2014, 5:33 pm

Jessika

Thanks I really needed to read this. Were going thru this exact situation.

Reply November 26, 2014, 5:06 pm

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