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How to Show Your Partner You are Grateful For Them


Grateful: feeling or showing an appreciation for something done or received.

Grateful appears to be one of many new ‘buzz words’ of the 2020’s. You hear about it on podcasts, you watch it on reality TV shows, you read about it in self-development books. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a whole new concept, never before seen. However, the practice of being grateful is not new. It’s an age-old, perhaps even evolutionary, concept.

Look at our primate cousins, for example. Primates will show reciprocity: “a situation in which two groups agree to help each other by behaving in the same way or by giving each other similar advantages“. In one experiment, chimpanzees were found to be more likely to share their food with the chimpanzee who had groomed them earlier that day, compared to all the other chimpanees.

Chimpanzees can’t quite identify that your love language is acts of service and unload the dishwasher for you. But the fact that they can show reciprocity indicates that some of our primate relatives do have the capacity to show gratitude.

What does it mean to be grateful?

But what does it mean to be grateful? What does it mean to show gratitude (the state of being grateful) towards your partner?

Showing your partner you are grateful for them is a must for any healthy, long-term relationship. On a scale of important relationship ‘must-haves’, gratitude is up there with trust and respect. Gratitude is more than just ritualistic pleasantries such as a bouquet of birthday flowers, or a new perfume as a Christmas gift. Being grateful could be considered a language of it’s own, unique to the individual showing gratitude.

How do I show my partner that I appreciate them?

Examples of showing your partner you are grateful for them include:

  • Writing a letter to show how much you appreciate your partner.
  • Leaving ‘thank you’ notes for the tasks you usually take for granted.
  • Tell your partner the ways in which you are grateful for them, and why, face-to-face.
  • If you are religious, include your partner in your prayers.

How to show gratitude and appreciation in words

“Thank you for being supportive” lets me know I have offered you support and you have welcomed it.

I believe it’s important to be specific when expressing gratitude. Although it’s nice to be receive a ‘thank you’ or to be told ‘thank you for being supportive’, it’s better to be told why you’ve been supportive.

“Do you remember the day I had that job interview I was really nervous for? You showed me so much support that day by practicing interview questions with me and taking me for a coffee afterwards. It made me feel supported and loved. I’m so thankful that you help me in stressful situations.”

Which do you think is the more meaningful show of gratitude? Sure, the first is easier and quicker to say, but it isn’t memorable. It won’t really show your partner that you are grateful for them, even though you are.

The difference between knowing and showing gratitude

You may be reading this and think “but I AM grateful for my partner!”. I know you are grateful for them, why else would you be researching ways to show your appreciation?! But there is a big difference between knowing you are grateful, and showing them that you are grateful. If those thoughts of gratitude never leave your head, will your partner ever truly understand how grateful you are? Probably not.

Try and make it a habit to show you are grateful. Habits get easier with time. Each time you want to let your partner know that you appreciate their actions, be sure to tell them why.

Examples of gratitude

“I am grateful for you organising our next date night because it shows me you care about our relationship.”

“I feel so grateful that you are such a good listener, you always remember the small details I’ve told you about my day.”

“When you buy me my favourite chocolate bar each time you go grocery shopping, it makes me feel loved and appreciated.”

Why is being grateful good for romantic relationships?

Showing your partner that you are grateful for them can make your relationship stronger as a couple. Expressing gratitude actually releases the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin, which can strengthen the bond between two people and help them to feel more connected. The caveat for these benefits is, however, that you must show your gratitude regularly. It would be similar to going to the gym once and expecting to be marathon-ready the next day.

Showing gratitude is good for self-development

Once you cultivate gratitude and make it a part of your daily routine, there is no going back. The list of what you will begin to be grateful for will be endless. Autumn leaves crunching on the ground, birdsong in the morning, a free coffee on your morning commute.

Showing gratitude for the wider world, as well as your partner, can do wonders for your mental health. Increased positivty, higher levels of happiness, and a more optimistic outlook on life are a few of the perceived benefits of showing gratitude, Keeping a gratitude log will remind you to always be grateful, to always find the light in the dark.

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