After over a decade of marriage, my husband and I both have become new versions of ourselves. We have taken on new roles, lifestyles and perspectives. As we’ve learned, changing your lifestyle can be extremely straining on existing relationships because you are introducing your partner to a “new you” whom they may or may not understand.
Along with being very close friends, gratitude has been a driving force in keeping the relationship between me and my husband strong as each of us evolved over time.
The science backs it too. A study of couples found that individuals who took the time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.
Our Love Story
It was 2001, downtown in our hometown on a crisp fall evening out with friends; we met and instantly connected. We started a conversation about his recent return home from the air force and my graduation from college the weekend prior.
From there we continued getting to know each other with dates, road trips and attending each other’s family events. We fell in love and became inseparable.
Since then, we married, moved from our hometown twice, became parents and took on different career roles. We experienced being a single income family after a natural disaster. We have helped each other through multiple personal losses. We’ve also been together for many wins and celebrations.
Individually, our lifestyles and interests have changed over the years. My husband has a passion for fitness and cooking while I’ve become more interested in meditation and gardening.
Currently, my work from home career requires travel and his requires being in a corporate office daily. Living in a town without family near, the tradeoff is when I travel he manages the household (2 school aged children, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 4 chickens, a house with acres of garden and landscape) and vice-versa when he’s in the office.
Although we have evolved as individuals throughout the years, simple acts of gratitude have kept us close. Being thankful for the gift we have in each other remains a priority.
Here are some ideas for relationship gratitude activities:
- Selfless Acknowledgement – Without expecting anything back, acknowledge when your partner does something great
- Random “Thank You” – Find unexpected moments to say thank you
- Milestone/Anniversary Gratitude Journal – Keep a journal throughout the year and share it on milestone dates or anniversaries
- Opens the door to more relationships
- Increases mental strength and improves self-esteem
- Improves sleep quality
- Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
- Improves psychological and physical health
Naturally, we all change. The two individuals who first met decades or even days ago are gone, replaced by new versions of the same people. That’s why you need gratitude: the glue that will help you both adjust to change. Feeling grateful is related to optimism, physical health, positive mood, better sleep and feeling more connected to other people.
As you take on new roles in your life with your family or career, how do you show your partner gratitude?
Crystal Gibson is a wife and mother of two from Cleveland, Ohio whose interest in women’s empowerment comes from her personal experiences, raising her daughter and navigating corporate America for over a decade. She is passionate about simple living, mindfulness & meditation, gratitude, and raising strong daughters. Her goal is to write about these ideas to help women and girls with their journey – figuring out who they are and what they represent to the world. When she is not writing, she can be found gardening, crafting and spending time with her family.