The season of gratitude is upon us. Pumpkins and falling leaves take us outdoors for dates at corn mazes and harvest parties. Cooler, rainy weather draws us indoors for snuggling by the fire with steaming mugs of apple cider. Or do they?
Life’s busyness often leads us to miss out on the simple pleasures of autumn including time with our significant others. Exchanged words between mates tend to be task-oriented and meet the urgency of the day. Appreciation frequently remains unexpressed.
How do box subscriptions for couples remedy this problem?
Why does it even matter? After all, your partner knows you appreciate him or her, right? Your schedules will eventually slow down and you can begin to enjoy times of togetherness once again, yes? Maybe not.
The truth is that the schedule is always busy. Without intentionality, time does not easily accommodate the important aspects of your relationship. Yet, expressing appreciation is a vital part of building a healthy relationship.
Read on to discover why this quality is important (and get hints for expressing it).
Appreciation is Important to Your Partner
Knowing and hearing that you are appreciated are two different things. While your partner may perceive your appreciation from the things you do, many times the clarity of this communication gets lost in the translation.
In short, we need to hear those two simple words, “Thank you.”
But what possible impact do these two small words make?
The power of a compliment or gratitude expressed run deep. Compliments raise dopamine and oxytocin levels in the receiver. These two “happy” chemicals play a role in making your significant other feel important and connected to others.
Dopamine boosts your partner’s attention, short-term memory, elation and boldness. It motivates him or her to take action. Oxytocin or the “cuddling hormone” allows people to bond and maintains feel-good sensations longer than its compadre, dopamine. The increase in oxytocin benefits your partner by boosting trust and intimacy levels.
Psychologists report that feeling appreciated:
- Lifts your partner up
- Reinforces a positive sense of self-worth
- Empowers him or her to take risks
- Provides a sense of life meaning
- Motivates him or her to work harder
Those are serious results from two easy to repeat words.
Life is Busy. How Can I Find Time to Express Appreciation?
Our daily responsibilities and activities keep our feet moving at a fast pace. Fortunately, expressing appreciation requires less time and simply more intent.
Try a few of these quick hints for working appreciation into your relationship:
- Touch your partner when near him or her.
- Actively listen to your significant other. (Yes, putting down the smartphone is a smart move.)
- Text a short, appreciative message daily.
- Pick up a small gift unique to your partner – just because.
- Compliment your significant other regularly.
- Write a longer note expressing your gratitude.
- Do an errand for your partner which he or she does not enjoy.
Need more ideas? Use subscription box dates for couples to carve out time with your spouse. Planning ahead to order the box and freeing a calendar date require minimal time. The rest of the date is handled for you. However, a little forethought and effort speak volumes in terms of appreciation.
If you want to fine tune your efforts for even greater impact, check out Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts”. Learn the love language of your partner and target your appreciation in line with your findings. (Read our blog post on how speaking your sweetie’s love language boosts your love quotient.)
A final hint: Specific expressions of gratitude reap greater rewards. Rather than saying, “Thank you.”, give reasons which fit the situation. For example, “Thank you for taking the garbage out when I was so tired.” Or, “I appreciate the way you jump in and help when my day is overwhelming.” Even, “I love the way you dance, work hard, _______. You fill in the blank.
What About Times When I Do Not Feel Appreciative?
Over time, we tend to take relationships for granted. U.C. Berkeley psychologist, Amie Gordon states, “You get used to having [your spouse] in your life and forget why you chose to be with them.” This natural course of relationships leads to dismissing your significant other’s unique qualities and focusing on the annoyances.
Appreciative feelings deaden.
To combat this problem, you need to interrupt the natural course of events. While we all experience dry spells in our relationships, taking action prevents further drain and gets you back to experiencing a loving connection. The good news is that you are not bound to your feelings. You can act counter to them.
Busyness, fatigue, illness or other factors leave you saying, “But, I don’t want to”. You can determine to do it anyway. Try one of these tips to motivate your mojo.
– Keep an Appreciation Journal.
The power of the pen translates into life change. On a daily basis, grab a notebook, journal or legal pad and jot down what you appreciate about your partner. Start small with a goal of three items and add to the number as your inspiration grows. The appreciation you begin to “feel” may surprise you.
– Jump Start the Cycle.
Since appreciation in relationships is a cycle (more on this below), take the initiative to get the ball rolling. Choose to express gratitude to, or even just smile more, at your partner. Take one of the ideas above, and just do it. Pre-determining to act boosts follow-through during times of lagging emotions.
Gratitude is Important to Your Well-Being
Expressing thankfulness benefits the giver as well. Yes, every time you tell your significant other what you appreciate about him or her, you are doing yourself a favor. Your physical and psychological health, social life and life satisfaction reap the rewards.
Check out these benefits of being grateful:
- Fewer aches and pains
- Reduction of toxic emotions
- Decreased depressive symptoms
- Improved self-esteem
- Strengthened mental fortitude
- Increased joy and happiness
- Improved social relationships
- Greater prosocial behavior
- Better sleep
Can you think of any reason not to practice being thankful?
Life is Hard. How Do I Grow My Gratitude?
Fortunately, your gratitude is not dictated by your circumstances, not even by your partner’s behavior. Gratitude is your response. You control how you see and think about the world around you.
As humans we get stuck in a cycle of ungratefulness. In fact, an influx of negative thoughts alter your brain’s chemistry. Psychologists call this depressive rumination. According to neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson of the Wellspring Institute, your thoughts grow new brain connections and even change genes and brain structure.
To stop the cycle of negativity, enhance gratitude with the following tips:
– Keep a Gratitude Journal.
Sound familiar? Well, it works! If you struggle with expressing gratitude in your relationship, you may need to begin listing what you are thankful for in general. Many times a lack of appreciation for your partner stems from a lack of gratitude in life. Bestselling author, Ann Voskamp offers a printable calendar of prompts if you feel stuck.
– Get Back to Nature.
Changing the scenery jolts your mind to think differently. Nature, in particular, clears your thoughts and opens you to new possibilities. Taking a walk in the park, observing the stars at night or fishing in a favorite spot offers a sense of your place in the world and tends to invoke awe and awe is a cousin of gratitude.
What Do Appreciation and Gratitude Do For Your Relationship?
There is no doubt that both you and your partner benefit from the expression of gratitude. But, there is more. Thankfulness also improves your feelings about your relationship and communication within it.
A study at the University of Georgia reported that expressions of gratitude between spouses were the most significant predictor of relationship quality. Hearing that your significant other appreciates you improves your feelings about your relationship, your commitment to it and your belief in its ability to last over the long haul.
Co-authors of the study, Allen Barton and Ted Futris found that even when communication skills lacked, expressions of gratitude reaped positive relational rewards. Thankfulness interrupts cycles of conflict and overcomes negative communication patterns, especially during times of stress.
In her study, Dr. Gordon discovered that appreciation tends to run in a reciprocal cycle. If you feel more appreciated by your partner one day, you are more likely to return the expression of appreciation the next day. Couples maintaining this cycle are more likely to stay together and report greater commitment.
What About Those Box Subscriptions for Couples?
Datelivery offers you the time-saving date night alternative that helps turn your thinking around and expresses gratitude to your partner. Box subscriptions for couples answer the “life is busy” problem with a convenient, practical solution.
These date night kits build appreciation in the following ways.
- Even the small effort that goes into planning a Datelivery tells your partner that he or she is worth your time.
- A day, evening or midnight hour circled on the calendar says “I appreciate you”.
- The activities contained in the date box offer plenty of opportunities to express your appreciation through words, touch or action.
Find the Datelivery box subscription for couples option perfect for you!