Key 67. Say ‘Thank you’ (part 1)

Just because we are familiar with our loved ones doesn’t mean we can take them for granted and drop the niceties. They still need to feel valued. A relationship can wane when one person takes the other for granted.

Avoid that by regularly thanking your partner and giving positive feedback.

‘Thanks for taking the kids to soccer every Saturday morning!’

‘I appreciate all the work you did to ensure our dinner party went well. Thanks for that!’
‘Thank you for being a good father/mother to our kids.’

When we are in the habit of thanking our partner and giving positive feedback, we notice more our good fortune. We become less likely to take their contribution for granted, and our positive view of the relationship grows. That makes the relationship more enjoyable, and our compromises easier to bear.

When both partners regularly receive the ‘Thank you’ reward, each is more likely to contribute towards the relationship and strengthen its bonds.

Every time your partner does something right (even if it’s expected) acknowledge that contribution by saying ‘Thank you’.

‘I call them the “masters of relationships”. They have this habit of mind where they are looking for things to appreciate. They are looking for things to say, “thank you” about. At the other extreme, the “disasters of relationships” focus on their partner’s mistakes. They are scanning for what their partner is doing wrong.’
Psychologist John Gottman, speaking with Alison George in ‘New Scientist’ 29 April, 06.

Q. ‘I do regularly thank my partner. But my partner doesn’t thank me.’
Ask your partner to acquire the habit. Explain why it’s important.

Whatever happens, don’t you stop thanking your partner. To thank them still benefits you, and you’re setting an example your partner might one day follow.

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