By activating the practice of gratitude on a daily basis, they can set in motion many positive forces.
M. J. Ryan and Daphne Rose Kingma in Attitudes of Gratitude in Love: Creating More Joy in Your Relationship offer a few help tips:
Don’t rob your everyday relationship of its pleasures by constantly expecting too much. As Jon Carroll once quipped: “An expectation is a resentment waiting to happen.” Let your love know that he or she is appreciated.
Never skimp on compliments or other words of praise.
Always emphasize the positive aspects of your history together; the negatives can be seen as bad weather — partly cloudy days.
Remember to practice little acts of kindness; they brighten the day.
Always cherish the third member of your relationship, the “usness” that has been created.
Let your mutual love animate your service of others.
A new article in Personal Relationships concurs that everyday gratitude serves an important relationship maintenance mechanism in close relationships, acting as a booster shot to the relationship.
According to lead author Sara Algoe, feelings of gratitude and generosity are helpful in solidifying our relationships with people we care about, and benefit to the one giving as well as the one on the receiving end.
The authors propose that the emotion of gratitude is adaptive, and ultimately helps us to find, remind, and bind ourselves to people who seem to care about our welfare.
Events such as one partner planning a celebratory meal when the other partner gets a promotion, taking the children to the zoo so the other partner can have some quiet time, or stopping to pick up the other partner's favorite coffee drink are each examples of gratuitous behavior that could strengthen romantic relationships, if the recipient feels grateful in response.
"Gratitude triggers a cascade of responses within the person who feels it in that very moment, changing the way the person views the generous benefactor, as well as motivations toward the benefactor," Algoe said. "This is especially true when a person shows that they care about the partner's needs and preferences."
Journal Reference:Sara B. Algoe, Shelly L. Gable, Natalya C. Maisel. It's the Little Things: Everyday Gratitude as a Booster Shot for Romantic Relationships. Personal Relationships, 17(2), 2010; pp. 217 – 233
Sorry to distract you gents, this picture is unrelated to the story except for its title, "Love & Gratitude”
Jon Carrol is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle