What are the things you treasure most?
These may be the things that would be tragic if you lost them,
where the grief would be harder to tolerate than the frustration of maintaining them;
they are the things that make you smile or calm your spirit even when chaos abounds,
or those things that make you think harder or use your skills or make you want to strive harder.
During an initial inventory, your partner may or may not be in the top 3.
Now consider the expression, “The grass is greener where you water it.”
How can you notice and identify the positive things in your partner or relationship that you’d like to treasure and then cultivate those things into a more meaningful and fulfilling experience?
This exercise does just that;
it simply helps couples notice and express appreciation toward each other. And while it can be helpful simply to think these precious thoughts,
the value of the exercise multiplies exponentially when you express them aloud to each other.
When a couple is at odds with each other, in conflict, or just upset with each other in general, it can be a challenge to notice the positive aspects of each other and the relationship.
Bringing in this daily practice of expressing positive feelings and appreciation helps tame the irritation of anger, avoidance, and contempt in a relationship and cultivate feelings of fondness, respect, and admiration.
P R A C T I C E
Please note that showing love and emotion is sharing a place of vulnerability.
Create safety with your partner by listening with limited distractions and facing each other through this exercise.
Now, according to The Gottman Institute, this exercise includes 5 simple steps:
- Take a moment and think about selected parts of your partner’s personality.
- On the list below, circle 3-5 items that you think are characteristic of your partner at times, even slightly.
- For each item your circle, briefly think of an actual incident that illustrates this characteristic of your partner.
- Jot down a note about this incident next to the item.
- Then share the circled adjective and this incident with your partner.
A Selection from Gottman’s “I Appreciate “ Checklist