Gratitude in Relationships

Posted on 1st January 2016 | Category: CBT, Useful Tools

Gratitude in relationships is important. Everyone knows it can be problematic when relationships become commonplace. There’s nothing like taking your significant other for granted when it comes to putting pressure on the small stuff. Unsurprisingly it has been shown that couples who take the time to thank each other and show genuine good feeling over the important positive aspects of their partnership, get along much better than those who reign in their emotions.

This article in the popular media actually goes one step further and looks at the way that spousal expressions of gratitude can help guard against and prevent divorce. It seems that recognition of each other’s contribution towards the marriage makes couples less likely to split up. One of the main reasons for this is that empathy, appreciation and gratitude are the antithesis of contempt.

One of the key indicators that a marriage cannot be saved are contemptuous remarks. These are considered by many counsellors and psychologists to be one of the best signs that a marriage is on the rocks and ready to break up. Like anything in life, marriage is a question of practice. Anything you do in life should get better with more trials, whether this is putting a basketball through a hoop, thanking people or performing complex mathematics.

Marriage is a partnership and the way that people work together should improve over time. However this requires both a positive attitude and positive behavioural traits to bring the best out of both partners. When both partners thank one another this engenders a better approach to work in the future and makes them more positive about working with one another. Like anything else in life, the more this is practiced, the better the participants become in the process.

However one of the most important things in being able to thank and appreciate other people is to be able to have some compassion and love for one’s self. In order to understand and appreciate other people’s positive and grateful contributions, you have to have the feeling that you deserve such treatment, and it is linked to the way in which you view yourself. In short if you feel good about yourself in a balanced and psychologically resilient manner, you’re far more likely to be able to sustain a reciprocal and supportive relationship with another person.

One incident that springs to my mind is when my own wife bought a sewing machine and wanted to start sewing clothes. To help her pass the time doing this she wanted to listen to the radio. I had given her a radio several months before hand for Xmas that she had never turned on or tried to use.

As a result when she came to try to use the radio, she simply could not get the tuning to work in the way she wanted. She became increasingly frustrated with the tuning. I gave her the instructions and showed her how easy it was and took away the anger of the situation. Initially she was upset with me, but when I reminded her that I was doing this for her own good she eventually saw the funny side and thanked me.

Turning round problems with communication is about finding common ground and not simply being reactive. It’s about creating new ideas and forms of conversation, and most importantly knowing when to step back and stop playing the game.

It’s about recognising those moments when conversation has turned emotionally volatile. You might feel that something has been said that is particularly hurtful or more importantly you might not like the way in which it has been said. Rather than simply reacting in a way that mirrors their behaviour, remind yourself that your partner is not like this all the time. Instead be grateful for all the times they have managed to make you laugh and smile.

If you would like to talk about how you can use hypnotherapy to find your inner strength to be less reactive in a situation and help your partner and yourself communication, then why not come to one of my free consultation sessions where we can discuss the options for therapy available to you.