Thanksgiving is a time for, well, thankfulness. It is a time for reflection on those blessings we have in our lives. We probably need this holiday because our tendency is to be ungrateful and to take our blessings for granted. We are better at complaining than expressing gratitude.
One of the biggest complaints that men and women share is feeling taken for granted in their relationship. Often both parties in a marriage feel this way! “I don’t feel important to my partner. I don’t feel he/she values me.”
Expressing gratitude isn’t casually expressing love, having sex, going to the movies, or taking out the garbage. Gratitude includes all of these but also includes the message, “You make a difference in my life.”
Try this exercise. Find a time to sit quietly without distractions (I know this is more easily said than done). Sit for a couple minutes and allow a feeling of relaxation to come over you.
After you feel relaxed, let yourself fantasize the loss of your partner in your life. The important part of the exercise is to follow yourself through your day, your week, and the year without your partner. The more you can focus on specific scenes in which your partner is missing, the better this exercise will serve you.
Now notice your tension level. For folks in harmful relationships, the exercise can be a pleasant fantasy, but those in healthy, satisfying relationships will notice increased tension. This is a normal reaction to loss - even imagined loss.
Now you are prepared to let your partner know how he or she enriches your life. Don’t wait until your anniversary to deliver this message in a card. Tell your partner what he or she means in your life. Do it today!