I always feel a bit cliche speaking on gratitude each year during the month of November. Still, it is an act I have found incredibly powerful and impactful in changing relationships.
In my work with couples, I highly encourage couples to find a ritual focused on admiration, appreciation, and affirmation. The reason I suggest this is based on the research by John and Julie Gottman. They discovered what they call "The Magic Relationship Ratio" which is 5:1--for every 1 negative interaction we have with our partner, we need 5 or more positive interactions. One way to create those positive interactions is to practice the power of gratitude.
In it's simplest form, I encourage couples to share 3 appreciations, admiration and affirmations daily. If you do this for a whole week, you have 21 positive and intentional interactions with your partner.
We enjoy encouraging couples to be creative in how they do this and discover their own flare to this challenge. Some of my favorite examples of this are:
A gratitude journal: Each partner keeps a journal all year which they dedicate to writing down their appreciation, admiration, and affirmations for one another and then they exchange the journals at the holiday season each year.
A Love Bucket: My colleague, Melissa Haigh and her husband, set a bucket on their kitchen counter with slips of paper that they could fill out with their gratitude and/or positive reflections of one another. They would deposit the slips of paper into the bucket and then read them later in the week.
Post-it note expressions: couples each have their own post-it note pads and they leave their gratitude on these notes and place them all around the house for each other to find.
As you can see, you can have a lot of freedom and creativity with this ritual. What is most important is actually acting on it versus finding the best way to do it. You can add your own flare or keep it incredibly simple.
I am challenging you to make this a ritual in your relationship. Observe how it impacts your partner, yourself, and your relationship. I can guarantee it will have a positive impact!