“The Little Things Count,” Says a Portland Marriage Counselor

March 9, 2016 by

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s the little things that count.” But what are those so-called “little things” and how can they help our relationship?

When we’re in a long-term marriage or relationship, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our regular, daily routine and simply go through the motions. We can easily turn into robots this way! But no one wants to be a robot.

To avoid this, we have to 1) remind out partner that we are in fact human, and 2) remind our partner that we love them and appreciate them. And the best way to do that is through a “little thing” called gratitude.

Expressing your gratitude to your partner and saying “thank you” is one of those little things that we often take for granted in a relationship. Even if we are grateful and thankful, we tend not to actually voice it or show it. But if we put forth that small effort, it really can make all the difference.

Expressing Gratitude Makes Relationships Stronger

A recent study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill divided couples into two groups: one group had couples discuss the ordinary goings-on of the day before, and the other group had couples express their gratitude towards each other. The couples then had to have a similar conversation 4 to 6 more times over the next month.

The researcher discovered that the couples who expressed their gratitude were happier, stronger, more positive, and more adaptable to change than the group that simply discussed their day-to-day routine.

So what does this mean for us?

Well, if you want your relationship to be happier, stronger, more positive, and more adaptable to change, then expressing gratitude towards your partner should become part of your relationship.

Telling your partner “thank you” for making you a cup of coffee in the morning or for doing the dishes after dinner could actually make your relationship better. You appreciate those little things whether you realize it or not, and by saying “thank you,” your partner then knows that you not only appreciate what they are doing but you also appreciate who they are. And that can deepen your connection, support, respect, and love.

But be careful. Expressing your gratitude for everything could come off as insincere. You want your partner to know that your gratitude is genuine and heartfelt instead of a robotic response.

See if you can incorporate this “little thing” we call gratitude into your everyday life. Show your partner that you appreciate them. Thank them for doing something meaningful or making your life a bit easier – even if it’s just taking out the trash – every day and see how your relationship improves for the better!

If you and your partner are struggling and need help expressing gratitude, contact a Portland marriage counselor today to try to get your relationship back on track.