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Ever wondered what makes that one couple look and feel so in love? Not the fake-y social media type, but the you-know-it’s-real type?

Ever noticed when her man is always showering her in affection, and his woman only talks about how amazing he is, even when he’s not there? Even years into their relationship, way passed the honeymoon phase.

Why does this happen?

The answer is gratitude!

Gratitude might just be the most instrumental attribute in creating and maintaining the perfect relationship.

At some level, every woman wants to feel like she’s the only girl in the world. Every man wants to feel like he’s the protector she’ll always need. And every couple that successfully expresses their gratitude, will learn there’s a lot to be taken for granted.

To be clear, I don’t mean the empty kind of gratitude, where you just pay any vague compliment that comes to mind. As you’ll see below, each expression has reason and purpose behind it.

Couples who don’t master the art of gratitude are at a disadvantage, because the woman who makes her man feel good about himself, the man who reminds his woman that she’s the only one for him, make eachother feel the best they ever have. They make their partners feel wanted, and every person needs to feel wanted. Your partner wants to know there’s a special reason you chose them.

When you learn how to express gratitude the right way, and begin to understand the purpose of each expression, you’ll not only make your partner feel special, you’ll better understand him. You’ll better know her wants and desires, and better realize just how special she’s always been. You will be able to use your partner’s psychology to your advantage, and grow your relationship to whatever level you want.

1) I’m Grateful That You Provide for Us

There’s nothing a man feels better about than being a man. Telling him that you’re grateful that “he works so hard,” or that the “kids are always looked after” makes him feel like the protector he aspires to be. It will opens him up more to you. It makes him want to be the provider you say he is, because psychologically, everyone wants to live up to the image others have of them.

Today, 1/3 of women out-earn their husbands, so she can easily be the primary breadwinner. Telling your wife that you’re grateful she provides, doesn’t make you any less of a man. In fact, that concession can lead to a much more relaxing and prosperous life for the both of you.

If she’s proud of the fact that she’s a provider, flaunt it! Tell her how much it means, and praise her for being the modern woman she is.

2) I’m Grateful You Did the Dishes…

“…this morning. It really helps me get on with my day, because now it doesn’t have to weigh on my mind.”

See what I did? I’m not just grateful for the dishes, there’s more. Adding the reason behind it gives an extra level of thought.

Thanking your partner for some simple task by saying, “thank you for staying and talking to my mom,” or “I’m grateful you do the dishes,” may have some power. But the real pride, the real “you done good” comes from specificity. It comes from you actually having thought about why you’re grateful.

Be intentional and be specific.

This is beneficial for you too, because it reminds you that there’s a lot about your partner you could take for granted.

3) I’m Grateful That I’m With Such a Good _____ (Man, Woman, Dad, Mom, etc..).

If you’re married, rephrase this to, “I’m so grateful that I married such a good (man, woman, dad, mom, etc..).”

This compliment brings your partner out of the “story of you” for just long enough. It reminds them that there were other possibilities, but you chose (and choose) them anyway.

People love being chosen, and even more, they love knowing that there was a real reason behind that choice. The beauty of this expression is that it will make your partner want to amplify whatever quality you highlighted. Because, again, psychologically, we try our best to live up to the image others have of us.

Wait until he’s playing with your son, or watch as she donates to charity, and then say, “I’m grateful I married a woman with such a beautiful heart.”

Those are just a handful of expressions you can use, but they’re open ended. You can adjust them to fit your personal circumstances, and you can apply the same principles to anything you want to express.

There are some rules you should know when coming up with your own.

Be Specific

The more specific you can be, the better.

Saying you appreciate that your husband vacuumed the floor is ok, but it’s also kind of vague and generic. Tell him why you find men who do that particularly attractive, or how it really helped you keep a handle on the house. Make him feel special.

Focus On the Little Things

It’s ok to be thankful for the big things like “providing,” or a trip to Paris, or whatever, but they’re obvious and your gratitude can carry to the small things too. Saying something like, “I’m grateful you made me coffee this morning, because it helped me get out of bed,” will make her feel good about being a caretaker. It’s something you can express daily, AND it will remind you that she does things everyday that you shouldn’t take for granted.

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