Gratitude: The First Line to a Healthy Relationship


Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; a readiness to show appreciation and return kindness.

What are you most thankful for this holiday season? Is it your relationship with your family, spouse or other significant persons? If so, have you told them how much you appreciate their support and the compassion they share? But most importantly, how have you expressed your “gratitude?” Was it in the form of words, gifts or services that reflect you heartfelt thanks? 

With the holidays around the corner, you can (with some work) begin to cultivate a spirit of “gratefulness” within your most important relationships to harvest on Thanksgiving Day.

In the 20+ years that I’ve been counseling individuals and couples in intimate relationships there is one thing that rings true for almost all individuals I’ve worked with.  It’s quite simple. When individuals feel emotionally safe with one another, when they feel loved, accepted and appreciated for who he or she is they are then willing to put their defensive guard down and become free to bring out their “best” desires and acts for the relationship.

Unfortunately, in all my years of practice I too often observe individuals that do not readily express this unconditional gratitude to the people that mean the most to them. Sadly, the “act” of gratitude in most intimate relationships is either not clearly expressed, or not repeated in a constant and consistent manner to allow the recipient to feel the appreciation at all times in the relationship. Gratitude is the secret “glue” that keeps and binds you together in the toughest of times.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, bring a different legacy to the holiday season. Begin by letting all the emotionally significant people in your life know what you are most grateful for about them. Be willing to share the “act” of gratitude as a foundation to all your relationships. You may be surprised and warmed by the reciprocation you receive.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy