Expressing Gratitude

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With Halloween behind us, it is natural for us to start looking ahead and begin to think about the upcoming holiday season. Thanksgiving will be here in no time, and with it the stress and frenzy that often accompanies it. Whether you’re traveling to see family or friends or you are hosting people at your home, Thanksgiving can be incredibly stressful. However, as much as possible, this season especially is a time to practice being thankful and showing gratitude.

As Thanksgiving approaches, try to be present with your partner, and even when the pressures of the season are at their peak, do your best to show your partner gratitude. By following some of the examples below, you will be amazed at the difference expressing and showing gratitude to your partner not only does to improve their mood and outlook, but yours, too.

Count the Little Things

Gratitude shouldn’t be reserved for the “Grand Gestures” in our life. If that was the case, our expressions of gratitude would probably be few and far between. Instead, find the little reasons to show gratitude on a daily basis to your partner.

There are times when partners surprise you: they clear the dishes without being prompted; they surprise you with flowers; or they draw a warm bath for you after a particularly grueling day. These are obvious events where expressing your gratitude goes a long way. These gestures show that they care and that they are in-tune with many of the things that make the modern relationship “work.”

But don’t forget about the other events where gratitude is appreciated and goes a long way. Every now and again, your partner may need a gentle prod or reminder to sweep the floors or put their laundry away. Even if you politely prompt them to do something, once they do it, thank them. Sure, they needed reminding, but when you go out of your way to acknowledge them, chances are they’ll be more inclined in the future to do things without being prompted.

Work Together to Prioritize

One of the key factors of stress between couples during Thanksgiving and the holiday season comes from a lack of communicating priorities. In other words, one partner may view a clean house and neatly trimmed yard as the top priority, whereas the other may feel like having a stocked refrigerator and clean sheets on the beds are the top priority. While each of these are important in their own right, if partners aren’t communicating well with each other about what they view to be a priority, there is a lot of room for assumptions and unmet expectations.

One way to avoid this is by sitting down with your partner and making a list together of all of the “To Dos” you think you need to get done. Once you have the list, you can sit down with each other and discuss the merits and priorities of each. That way, you can both be on the same page about what should be done, by when, and by whom.

While this may not necessarily be an outward form of expressing gratitude to your partner, there is intrinsic value in letting your partner know that you care about their well-being, especially during the holidays, and when you’re on the same page, you’re telling them that you care. In turn, they’ll be grateful to be able to talk through competing priorities with you. And, a little quality time together making a list can be a lot of fun, too!

Communicate Your Way

Every couple has their own spoken and unspoken language. For some, an unexpected hug after an argument says “I’m sorry” in ways that the words never could. On the flip side, other couples may need to hear those words as they work towards forgiveness.

Gratitude happens in much the same way. The go-to method of showing gratitude for one couple may seem incomprehensible to another couple. Also, understand how your partner prefers to be shown gratitude. If your partner is shy, for example, he may not be particularly pleased if you single him out to thank him during the Thanksgiving dinner toast! Instead, he may be thrilled with a sticky note on the bathroom mirror before bed at night.

Finding “your” language to express gratitude is a special exercise and may require some introspective thinking. There is beauty in this, though, because it helps you think and consider the various ways in which gratitude can be shown, and by its own right, that is something to be grateful for.

Wherever you find yourself this Thanksgiving, remember to be thankful. Thank everyone from your family to your colleagues to the tellers in the grocery store. In a busy world, a “Thank You” still goes a very long way.

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!