With Thanksgiving preparations full on, I have been thinking about the importance of having thankfulness for our partner on Thanksgiving and every day! One of the most important ways to create a culture of appreciation and admiration in your relationship is to thank one another and express appreciation.
However, verbalizing thanks and appreciation does not come easily to some people, usually because they did not grow up in a positive, validating environment. Or because many couples get busy and are not intentional about remembering to express appreciation.
There is an exercise from Imago Couples Therapy that I have been using to start some of my couples therapy sessions. This exercise helps couples to show appreciation for how each is changing and improving the relationship as a part of therapy, but I also encourage couples to get in the habit of doing this exercise at home to kick of their date nights and at the dinner table both during therapy and even after therapy has ended!
One person agrees to go first and says the following comments:
- Something I have have appreciated about you during the last (day, week, weeks) is ……
- This was very important to me because …
- The way you made me feel is … (express positive emotions such as happy, cared for, loved, accepted, calm, supported).
Then the other person takes a turn.
This may seem like a very simple exercise to some people, but nonetheless making it a habit to verbalize appreciate at least once per week, and possibly even once per day can have powerful effects on a relationship.
Thanksgiving year round for couples is one way to build a solid, successful and lasting relationship with your significant other!