Whether you’ve just started dating or you’ve been wearing yellow gold wedding bands for years, saying thank you is a vital piece of a healthy relationship. It doesn’t take long to express gratitude, nor does it take a lot of effort, but the payoff is huge, especially when you making saying thanks a habit.
Saying thank you is something that many of us learn to do as children, and it’s a habit that we should never outgrow. However, expressing gratitude shouldn’t merely be a habit like brushing your teeth or always tying your left shoe first. If you only say thank you because it’s what you’re used to doing, you miss out on the benefits of expressing your thanks, both for yourself and for your relationship.
When you take time to truly appreciate someone, it changes you. For example, if you take time to look your significant other in the eye and tell him why you appreciate him picking up your favorite takeout on a busy evening, you’ll feel much more gratitude than if you had half-heartedly mumbled “thanks for dinner” as you started to chow down.
Simply recognizing the specific things for which you’re thankful and expressing why you’re thankful for them cultivates an attitude of gratitude that helps you see the person you love in a more positive light. Research has even shown that being thankful can stave off depression. Even if saying thanks had no impact on your relationship, it would be worth it; however, the reality is that saying thank you is a key component in building a lasting bond between two people.
When you thank your partner for something they’ve done (Thanks for giving me a ride! You know how much I hate driving in the city and getting a ride from you was a big relief.) or for something they are (Thanks for being such a good listener.) you let them know that you appreciate them. Feeling appreciated in important in any relationship, but it’s crucial in a romantic relationship. No one wants to feel as if they and their contributions have gone unnoticed, and by demonstrating that you notice and appreciate your partner, you let them know that not only do you recognize their contributions; you value what they do and who they are.
Saying thank you for the little things can have a big impact over time as it grows in you an attitude of gratitude and reinforces your love and appreciation. If you have a hard time remembering to say thank you to the person you love most, consider designating something that you regularly see, such as a piece of jewelry, as a reminder. For married couples, wedding bands can serve this purpose, but that’s far from your only option. Just choose anything that you see often enough to make it an effective gratitude aid.
In a roundabout way, saying thank you is one way to say I love you. It communicates that you value the other person and, over time, it’s an essential building block in a lasting relationship. What’s not to love about that?