As a former Relationships teacher with a Master’s in Educational Psychology talking about positive psychology and the effects it has on our marriages and relationships lights me up! In this article you’ll some research backed ideas and some health benefits for you, pinky swear!


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Today I’ll share:

  • 10 gratitude ideas for you and your boo, and

  • the health benefits of gratitude

So let’s get down to business…

“Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

Thank you Google for the first definition that popped up. 

Jen Wille, Chicago Life Coach describes why her gratitude practice is personally so fulfilling in the following way:

“Gratitude is what wipes away any internal struggle or suffering I’m experiencing. When I’m reminded of the goodness I have right in front of me, the negative whisper of my own worry, envy, sorrow, or sadness is gone as I embrace gratitude.”

Health Benefits of gratitude

Creating a gratitude practice is one of the most important things you can do for your well being. In fact, Harvard health did a study that you can find here about all the fabulous ways that this simple practice can make us happier. Having a solid gratitude practice benefits us psychologically, physically and socially.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion onto clarity… it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Melody Beattie.

Gratitude, a psychological construct of appreciation, when turned into a verb improves our lives tenfold. So the benefits would only increase if we did it with our better half… amiright… or amiright? This study I found shares a ton about the health benefits of gratitude, so I made a comprehensive list below to make it easier for you to see instead of having to read the 16 page long study for yourself! Here’s a quick overview below:

psychological benefits of gratitude

  • lower risk of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, phobia, nicotine dependence, alcohol dependence, and drug “abuse” or dependence

  • better body image

  • a key aspect of post-traumatic growth

  • improved mood and life satisfaction

  • increased “eudemonic” well-being (or living life to the fullest)

physical benefits of gratitude

  • decreases overall stress

  • improved sleep-wake cycle

  • I also found this video (below) to share about the effects of gratitude on health

 

Relational Benefits of gratitude

  • improves forgiveness

  • decreases narcissism

  • promotes conflict resolution

  • better body image (better bedroom time?) 🙂

HOW TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE TOGETHER

I want to start with the meat first— so here’s some research I found here and here by Adam Hoffman about the benefits that gratitude has when couples dive in practicing gratitude together. 

The list I’m sharing is all the ways you and your partner can harness the power of gratitude right away. Take a peek below and start right away (the sooner you begin, the quicker you reap the rewards!). 

START A GRATITUDE JOURNAL TOGETHER

There are actually a few fun pre-made couples journals out there. I haven’t tried any personally, but thought it would be helpful to link them here, here and here. I love bringing the art of writing into our home and I always find that there’s something so therapeutic about putting pen to paper. Sometimes it’s fun to write love letters to your better half like your teenagers again. Just sayin.

3 THINGS BEFORE BED

I have a special place for this practice in my own heart. When Casey and I were going through– let’s call them… the lost years– we had a therapist suggest this to us. And it’s a solid practice! Each night before you go to bed, you tell your partner three things you appreciated about the other person that day. I love how simple, concise and effective this practice is. Bonus points for specificity!

VOLUNTEER TOGETHER

Couples who volunteer together, stay together. Isn’t that the saying? Wink. Here’s a quick list of ideas (COVID-friendly, of course): volunteer at a soup kitchen, host a donation for families in your community, volunteer at a Boys and Girls Club or at Habitat for Humanity (this would be our go-to. Scoot over Chip + Joanna!).

CREATE GRATITUDE HABITS TOGETHER

Carving out time with your partner is a sign of appreciation. Whether it’s over morning coffee, an uninterrupted nighttime routine, or over intentional dinners. Creating daily habits over time builds a solid foundation for your relationship or marriage! Can you think of something that triggers you to appreciate your partner?

REFRAME YOUR UNGRATEFUL THOUGHT

As I was doing a little research, I came across this really awesome tactic that entrepreneur, Marelisa Fabrega from Daring to Live Fully uses called the “ungrateful thought” (#22). 

  • I’ll use a personal example here:

    Ungrateful Thought: I am so frustrated that every time I get home from a photo shoot the house is a disaster. I just wish I could come home to a clean house. (okay, also, for the record, this is rarely ever a complaint I have for him, but more him of me… hehe, whoops!).

    Grateful Thought: I’m so grateful that I have a husband who takes care of our children, laughs with them, plays with them, and gets them to bed on time. He does a lot for our family. 

    • DO YOU SEE HOW LIFE GIVING THIS IS?! It would be a crime not to share this. 

HAVE A GIVING WEEK

Every April, Casey and I decide to do a gratitude challenge we like to call “giving week.” Basically, we aren’t allowed to ask each other for anything we could do ourselves (chore wise) and instead serve each other by asking each other how we can help instead. This really took the focus off of what we were “getting” in our marriage and caused us to focus on the benefits of giving. It’s always on of my favorite weeks of the year!

PRACTICE YOUR PARTNER’S LOVE LANGUAGE

Funny story: For the first 9 years of our relationship, Casey (my husband) thought that anytime he was speaking his own Love Language (Act’s of Service) that he was speaking my love language (Physical Touch). Talk about a miscommunication… oh dear! When we finally ironed out those details, we both had a comprehensive understanding that speaking each other’s love language is an act of gratitude and appreciation!

APOLOGIZE FIRST

If it makes sense, of course. I’m not a relationship expert, but I do believe apologizing or making amends is not only vulnerable, but a truly humbling practice. I often find that when I have a really sincere apology that I am acknowledging where I can do better, honor my partner, and offer us both grace. 

SPEND TIME IN NATURE

Is there a better way to show appreciation for your partner than to give them your undivided attention (device free, of course!) Taking a walk, going on a hike, riding bikes. No distractions. Just uninterrupted quality time in the outdoors does wonders for the soul. 

MAKE YOUR FAVORITE MEAL TOGETHER

Food is my Love Language. Okay, okay, I know that’s not an actual Love Language according to Gary Chapman, but I think it should have made the list, don’t you?! Is there really a better way to show your partner you appreciate him or her, than by making your favorite meal for or with each other? ‘Nuff said. Me either. 


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There you have it: the health benefits of gratitude and 10 ways to practice gratitude with your partner

Bottom line: Happy couples practice gratitude together; they appreciate each other.

Now that you have a fun list of ideas for couples gratitude to practice, as well as the benefits, what’s your next step?


Did ya like it? Then ya shoulda put a Pin on it (nbd, just channeling my inner Beyonce over here).

 


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10 Gratitude Exercises for Couples

  1. Natalie says:

    Dad’s love language is totally food… just saying. It runs in the family. It was Grandpa’s too! ❤

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