Create Fireworks in Your Relationship
Use these 2 little words to kindle a spark in your relationship – “Thank you!”
How does that make any sense … saying “thank you” to your spouse?
Well, when you say “thank you,” you’re expressing gratitude. And gratitude is a positive emotion that involves being appreciative for another person or situation.
When you experience gratitude, you respond with feelings of kindness, warmth, and other forms of generosity.
The same area of the brain that controls emotions and behavior also control higher-order thinking skills like focus and attention.
A person’s ability to analyze information can greatly benefit from keeping the brain happy through positive thinking and gratitude.
A negative mindset often leads to more negativity, but thinking more positively about a situation or circumstance leads to feelings of gratitude.
The nature of thoughts, whether they be positive or negative, is a reflection of positive or negative habits.
If you are constantly thinking negatively about your spouse and feeling negative emotions, you will likely get more negativity due to the way the brain handles such feelings.
In 2008, scientists conducted a study to measure the brain activity of people thinking and feeling gratitude.
They found that gratitude causes “synchronized activation” in multiple brain regions and lights up parts of the brain’s reward pathways and the hypothalamus.
In other words, gratitude can boost the neurotransmitter serotonin and activate the brain stem to produce dopamine.”
And that dopamine is our brain’s pleasure chemical!
So, the more we think positive, grateful thoughts about our spouse, the warmer and more loving towards them we can feel.
The details of how this process occurs in the brain is called neuroplasticity, and falls under neuroscience research. And that’s way above my pay grade of understanding.
But, thanks to the flexibility or “plasticity” of the brain, practicing gratitude (positive thinking) can improve every area of our lives, specifically our relationships.
“Gratitude in your relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes,” says Allen Barton, a postdoctoral research associate at Georgia University’s Center for Family Research.
The Center asked 468 married people questions about their partner and their relationship. They found that gratitude is the best predictor of how happy someone is in a marriage.
“Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, saying “thank you” could help mitigate damage caused from arguments,” Barton said.
According to this study, “what distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”
It’s easy to get comfortable and take each other for granted.
But when you express gratitude to your spouse, you’re saying you are aware that your partner deserves appreciation.
And expressing that appreciation daily ignites those love sparks! You can create your own fireworks!
Practice these 4 moves:
- Search for something good your spouse is doing
- Pay close attention to that behavior
- Express your appreciation to them in detail for that behavior
- Repeat daily
Watch show replays here.