After all, the weeks that lie ahead will be full of countless people and activities - it’s festive and fun to go out as a couple, so naturally, we must be doing right by him or her, right? Sure, on some level, we probably are – we are enjoying a variety of people and parties, and usually doing so together. We talk about feeling thankful for our health, our security, and our families – but are we actually SHOWING how thankful we are for the person who carries us through our darkest hours, and celebrates with us when happy times come along?
Maybe so, on some level. But we can always do more, can’t we?
And guess what? Expressing our gratitude more frequently and with greater fervor will breed deeper connectedness, ultimately leading to more romance and passion! Now, tell me, who doesn’t want a little (or a lot) more of those great wonders of the world?!
So let’s brainstorm a few ways to express our thanks to those we love. It’s a win-win for both of you.
1. Take a good look at your spouse as a whole, competent, wonderful human being, but look at him or her as an outsider might. What are his or her best qualities? What do others always recognize in him or her as inspirational, exciting, caring, or unique? Reflect. Repeat. Reflect. Repeat. Remind yourself of who he or she is as an INDIVIDUAL – NOT in context of your relationship or your life together, but as a stand-alone human being who has special gifts and characteristics that are somehow making a beautiful impact on the world. Next time you see your spouse, verbally share a few of those reflections. I bet he or she will smile ear to ear.
2. Along the lines of number 1, think about how you can honor your spouse’s individuality. What is it that he or she loves to do? With whom does he or she like to spend time? When does he or she seem to feel most alive? Figure out a way to get your one and only out for a day (or a weekend) which incorporates those people and/or activities that most revitalize him or her. Plan it out, make it happen, and leave yourself out of the itinerary. Let it be a selfless expression of true love, and simply say, “I am so grateful for who you are; I want you to go enjoy a special day and know how much I cherish you.”
3. Craft a love letter to capture the memory of a special date, or to reflect on what’s happening in the here and now, or to share a dream for the future. Yes – a real, authentic, bona fide, sweet love letter. Buy an exquisite blank card. Use your best penmanship. Okay, sure – go ahead and give it a spray of your perfume/cologne if you wish! A love letter seems to be a lost art form in many homes these days – make it your goal to resurrect it! The texts you send will not end up in the memory box, nor will they make their way to the next generation. They will float away into cyberspace. But love letters – they have wow factor and the capacity to last. They are one of the most romantic ways to share your heart and bring joy to the person who gets to hold it in their hands, and read it, perhaps over and over again, as long as you both shall live. Old-fashioned communication is timeless, classic, and unfailing in its capacity to stir up some excitement. No pressure – you can keep it super-simple. It’s the idea that you wrote something down for your love that counts.
4. How about a playlist? I finally learned how to use technology to do this, and it is seriously amazing. From the early 20th century tunes to the modern-day love songs, you can share your messages through the melodies and voices of your customized playlist. There are limitless possibilities when it comes to a playlist of love songs – you can’t go wrong; all of them evoke emotion.
5. And here’s the most important thing we can all do every day, all year long. Just say “thank you” in the evening, just once will do. For something. Anything. Even if we are mad for some petty reason that we will most likely not even remember next year. Take the hand of your spouse, squeeze it, look deeply into his or her eyes, and say, “Thank you for……” (insert anything! Anything at all! It doesn’t take much to make someone feel appreciated.)
I have heard that it takes, on average, about 30 days to make something a habit that will stick. My guess is that 30 days after you start showing gratitude to your spouse, your relationship will be infused with the magic we all feel when we first fall madly in love. Passion, fireworks, romance – all of it can most likely be yours again, with a little gratitude every day.
And that’s a pretty awesome return on investment.