One Small Change to Make Your Relationship Stronger

It’s that time of year again where some of us are busy writing our New Year’s resolutions, but how many of us have included, as a priority, on our lists to work on ‘strengthening our relationship’ with our partner or spouse? If you haven’t done so, let’s include one small change in the way we interact with our partner this year.

Research from the Gottman Institute shows that there are two types of couples – the ones who don’t make it in the long run and the ones who flourish and bloom over time. One area that they suggest that helps a relationship flourish and bloom runs on gratitude and appreciations. In their research they found that couples that consistently scanned for the positives within their relationship and gave positive feedback in the form or gratitude and appreciations had a stronger relationship and provided nourishment for love to grow. Those couples that consistently scanned for the negatives and jumped at any opportunity to criticize their partners drained their foundation of nourishment and weakened the relationship over time. In my private practice, partners in this category endured deep emotional wounds and would commonly express feeling unappreciated, unloved, misunderstood and not being heard.

Given a fresh year to start with, for those who are in category one, why not make this an opportunity to steer away from falling into category two and focus on making your relationship even stronger. For those who are already in category two, here is a cheat sheet to jumpstart re-fertilizing your relationship’s foundations.

  • Make each month this year an opportunity to express your appreciations for one another.
  • Take time to scan your environment and focus on where your partner has gone out of the way to do something for you or when your partner has kept you in their thoughts.
  • Reflect and verbally express what you are grateful for and show genuine appreciation towards your partner.

Here are some examples of ways you can verbally express your appreciation.

  • Thank you, love, for going out of your way to pick up the laundry.
  • Love, thank you for being so thoughtful and getting tickets to that show I mentioned over dinner last week.
  • I really appreciated your help and advice. Thanks for listening and staying engaged in the conversation.
  • Honey, I really appreciate all the little details you put into our home and making it nice. Thank you love.

Make giving genuine appreciations a priority this year and see how your relationship can thrive!

About The Author

Lori Chau

Lori Chau, M.Couns is a relationship counsellor in Hong Kong and specialises in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: pre-marital counselling, marriage, long term relationships, work relationships, family interactions, friendships, separations, break ups and conflict resolutions.