Giving Thanks for Your Partner: How Appreciating the Good Can Transform You

Are you taking your partner for granted OR, even worse, focusing on what she/he isn’t doing or saying?  If you wish your partner would change, and have already asked, pleaded or begged for these changes to be made, it’s time to stop.  Not only will this fail to bring about the changes you desire, it will actually hurt your relationship! Instead of focusing on what is wrong in your relationship, taking time to appreciate what is right can dramatically improve the way you feel about your partner AND your relationship.

Lots of us take our partner (and our relationship) for granted.  Our significant other is just ‘there’: living alongside of us and doing whatever they do.  Or maybe it goes beyond taking him/her for granted.  Maybe you’re locked in conflict and actively dislike your partner.  You may be reading this and thinking,  “Gratitude and appreciation?!  For MY partner?  No way!  Not when she/he doesn’t _______!”

For many people, it takes a crisis to feel how important our loved one really is to us.  It may be only after the death of someone that we remember how precious life is.  When we are in touch with the sanctity of life, it can shift the way we feel about our loved ones.  We recognize their importance and feel more appreciative.  For some, the crisis is not death, but illness.  I’ve heard cancer survivors (shockingly) say that they are grateful for their illness because it made them feel grateful for the relationships they already have.

But it doesn’t have to take illness or loss for you to learn to appreciate your partner.  You don’t have to continue to live mindlessly, without really being present for all the goodness that already exists in your relationship.  A shift in your thinking or a change in what you decide to notice can dramatically affect the way you feel.  In partnerships, shifting HOW you see your partner will absolutely affect how you feel in the relationship AND will affect the relationship itself.

Let’s shift how you see your partner.  What do you feel grateful for about who your partner is?  What is good about him/her just as he/she is?  What do you love about…

  • his/her strengths
  •  his/her looks and sexiness
  •  special or simple, but beautiful, things he/she does or says
  •  his/her character or personality?

Was this a shift for you?  Do you allow yourself to see your partner’s strengths?  How would things change if you could open your eyes to the wonderful parts of this person?  What if you could then express your gratitude to her/him?

It’s likely that you’ve waited, asked, begged, and pressured your partner to change.  How successful has that been for you?  My guess is: not very.  While it would be nice if our partner were to change to become exactly what we’d like him/her to be, it’s not likely to happen, no matter how much we beg.   Instead, transformation comes from your choice to see, think and do things differently.  It’s you.  You hold the tools to transform your relationship. Acknowledging your partner’s strengths is one of these tools.

How can you acknowledge what you are grateful for about your partner?

  • tell him/her what you notice, especially at the moment you notice it
  • thank him/her with spoken word, written word, or touch
  • decide NOT to include a reference to a time he/she wasn’t like that
  • be an advocate for your partner by telling others what’s good about him/her
  • give a prayer of thanks for having this person in your life (warts and all)

Giving thanks for the goodness that exists will transform you, the relationship, and, ultimately, your partner.

To schedule an appointment to learn more about how feeling gratitude for your partner can greatly improve your relationship, call 908-246-3074 or email mkeller@couplestherapycenterofnj.com

Meredith Keller's Book

Relationship Essentials

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Relationship Essentials book

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