Developing a culture of gratitude and appreciation in your relationship takes some practice, it may start with a simple, "I like the way you look in that shirt" or, as my dad would tell my mom, "I like the way you make that shirt look" (the suave debonair).
Regardless of the content of the message, the simple method of showing appreciation remains the same:
- Observe something about your partner or something he has done/is doing.
- Notice what that is doing inside you (emotionally, physically, behaviorally).
- Verbalize both what you observed and how you noticed it made you feel. *Quiet appreciation has a significantly reduced benefit. Think about doubling the appreciation/value when you put words to your gratitude.
The interesting thing about the magnitude of gratitude is that it is much like a muscle. Some people are naturally more inclined to acknowledging appreciation, and that muscle is naturally stronger. However, just as with any muscle, it can increase in strength, power, and endurance with exercise. This can be hard work, feel unnatural, and perhaps forced, but, the benefits of increasing a mentality of gratefulness are significant (see the 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn't Know About for the fun details). So, as you attend to observing, noticing, and verbalizing your gratitude, you are in turn choosing to do the hard work and expecting to experience the benefits.
A deliberate exercise of gratitude toward your partner can offer a buffer of resiliency any relationship can afford; it increases levels of intimacy and respect simply by recognizing and acknowledging your partner and purposefully choosing to express appreciation each day.