"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." -William Arthur Ward
Sometimes in a long-term relationship, we fall into a routine of “normal”. She makes the coffee in the morning, he makes the bed, She makes the kids’ lunches, he picks them up from school, she cooks the dinner, he helps with homework, she pays the bills, he does the dishes and round and round we go. This is how we get through the day. Working together and following our routine. This routine then becomes the status quo, right? All the things that we do to keep the house and family and lives running smoothly becomes almost part of our “job descriptions” and becomes less and less remarkable over time.
What ends up happening is when “running smoothly” becomes our normal we then really focus on when things go wrong. For example, if she forgets to make the coffee in the morning it gets mentioned. Maybe he forgets to pick up the kids- that definitely gets mentioned! She forgets to pay that bill, he loaded the dishwasher wrong etc. etc. Eventually couples may start to realise that the only times they are commenting on their partner’s behavior is when they are pointing out something their partner is doing wrong. Over time, this can take a negative toll on a couple’s communication, feelings of connection, and atmosphere in the home.
We all want to feel like what we do matters to our partners. Even if it is “part of the job description”. We each are working very hard in lots of little ways to maintain that status quo and keep our lives and homes running smoothly, and it can be disheartening for it to go unnoticed. Many people can end up feeling unappreciated or taken for granted by their partner when all of their daily hard work becomes "unremarkable"....until they mess up. Sometimes we are quick to point out what is going wrong, and forget to also point out what is going right!
So today, remind yourself to notice all the things that your partner is doing for you and your family. Make the choice to be grateful for all the things your partner does, and express that gratefulness! Focus on the positive and be grateful for it! Even if it’s something they have done a million times before. Praise them for it. Be grateful for their contributions. Celebrate them for who they are to you.
If you are having trouble with this, think of how easy it is to criticize your partner about the same thing over and over….”you didn’t do that right...again!” And instead put that energy towards positivity towards your partner. Start by looking for specific things to praise them for every day. Over time you will find that expressions of sincere appreciation and a mindset of gratefulness will go a long way in changing your home life and relationship for the better.
Kristal DeSantis, M.A., LMFT-Associate, is the founder of Austin STRONG: Relationship Building Center in Austin, TX
Visit www.austinstrongrbc.com or call 512-887-8036 to book a couples' or individual counseling session. Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/austinstrongrbc or Instagram @austinstrongrbc for more relationship-focused tips, articles, and inspiration.
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