After over a decade of marriage, my husband and I both have become new versions of ourselves.

We have taken on new roles, lifestyles, and perspectives that the other has to learn or be aware of the basics.Changing your lifestyle can be extremely straining on existing relationships because you are reintroducing them to the new you which they may or may not understand.

Along with being very close friends, gratitude has been a driving force in keeping our relationship strong as we personally evolve.

A study of couples found that individuals who took the time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.

Our Love Story:
 It was 2001, downtown in our hometown on a crisp fall evening out with friends; we met and instantly connected. We started a conversation about his recent return home from the air force and my graduation from college the weekend prior.

From there we continued getting to know each other more with dates, road trips, and attending each other’s family events. We fell in love and became inseparable. 
 Since then, we married, moved from our hometown twice, became parents, and took on different career roles. During this time we experienced being a single income family after a natural disaster, have helped each other through multiple personal losses along with enjoying our wins.

Individually, our lifestyle interests have changed over the years. My husband has a passion for fitness and cooking while I’ve become more interested in meditation and gardening.

Currently, my work from home career requires travel and his requires being in a corporate office daily. Living in a town without family near, the tradeoff is when I travel he manages the household (2 school aged children, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 4 chickens, a house with acres of garden and landscape) and vice-versa when he’s in the office.

Gratitude Activities:

Although we have evolved as individuals throughout the years, simple acts of gratitude have kept us close. Being thankful for the gift we have in each other remains a priority.

Here are some ideas for relationship gratitude activities:

  • Selfless Acknowledgement — without expecting anything back- acknowledge when your partner does something great
  • Random “Thank You” — Find unexpected moments to say thank you
  • Milestone/Anniversary Gratitude Journal — keep a journal throughout the year and share it on milestone dates or anniversaries

Benefits of Gratitude include:

  • Opens the door to more relationships
  • Increases mental strength and improves self-esteem
  • Sleep better
  • Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  • Improves psychological and physical health

Naturally, we all change. The people who met decades or even days ago are gone — gratitude is the glue that will help you both adjust to change. Feeling grateful is related to optimism, physical health, positive mood, better sleep, and feeling more connected to other people. As you take on new roles in your life with your family or career, how do you show your partner gratitude?

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Originally published at on April 24, 2017.

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