I overheard someone say they are so grateful to have you in their life, for the wonderful person you are and for all you do!
Let that sink in. Doesn’t the idea of hearing that make you feel all warm and fuzzy and interested in, even open-hearted toward, whoever is expressing appreciation for you?
And if you were to express heartfelt gratitude toward a loved one, it’s likely they would feel more warm and fuzzy and interested in you. But what I find even more exciting is the benefits of gratitude are as great or greater for the person feeling the gratitude than the subject of it.
It’s human nature – people are more likely to want to bond with you if you thank them for something they did for you, even if it’s as simple as holding the door open or recommending a restaurant. It’s been proven this makes them more likely to move toward continuing and deepening the connection with you.
This is one of those situations where it can literally be better to give than receive.
Research is finding that people who practice gratitude (as the one feeling grateful) consistently report a host of benefits:
• Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More joy, optimism, and happiness
• Acting with more generosity and compassion
• Feeling less lonely and isolated.
These benefits are extraordinary, but how can gratitude also powerfully impact your sex life?
In a long-term relationship, one of the things that can cause passion to slide downhill is not feeling appreciated.
Our sexuality is where we typically feel most vulnerable. So it’s natural to wonder if our partner still finds us desirable, if they really want to have sex with us, and if we’re satisfying them sexually. Without regular positive feedback we tend to become insecure and lose the passion (even if we keep going through the motions in bed).
The good news is that consistently expressing gratitude for each other can reverse this trend.
You may have heard me talk about the 60-second daily practice to rev up your love life. Basically, it’s a 20-second full-body hug, followed by a 10-second kiss, plus 30 seconds of sharing appreciation (15 seconds each).
I’ve received a lot of feedback from couples about how amazed they are that such a quick and simple routine can have the power to reignite sexual passion!
Ideally, in an intimate partnership, this particular 30 seconds of daily appreciation would focus on things you admire or appreciate about the other person on a sensual or sexual level – like how you love their scent when they are aroused, the feel of their arms around you or their fingers in your hair, how that kiss on the nape of the neck sends shivers down your spine, the softness of their skin, how it excites you to see them letting go into their pleasure – you get the idea.
However, it’s really important to also regularly thank your partner for other ways they contribute to your life together (including the more mundane things, even if you don’t think they do enough).
Try developing a habit of associating gratitude with something you do every morning. You could contemplate something you’re grateful for about your partner when you wake up, brush your teeth or take that first sip of coffee. Then plan how you’ll convey it to him or her (a note in their briefcase, a post-it on the remote control, a text message, or simply looking them in the eyes and saying it out loud).
For example, try thanking your partner for cleaning up the kitchen, washing the car, picking up the kids or the dry cleaning, doing the laundry, paying the bills, calling the plumber, or whatever – even if you think it’s their “job.” This can stimulate them to do more.
Hearing your words of appreciation also helps them listen better to you in general — knowing you just might say something they’d really like to hear.
And don’t forget to express gratitude for the personal qualities they bring to your life, just by being who they are (like fun and playfulness, curiosity, optimism, being supportive when times are tough, acceptance of your challenging traits). Dig deep — what you put attention on grows, so why not emphasize and expand what’s working?
The longer two people have been together, the easier it is to take for granted the contributions each makes and to assume the other person “knows” you appreciate them. But you’d enjoy hearing words of appreciation from them, wouldn’t you?
Don’t do this with an agenda or expectation that they will reciprocate, or this could go south. Remember gratitude is a gift to yourself as well as others, because it increases your own happiness too. Just give the gift of gratitude. Give it again and again, and see what happens over time.
If you don’t yet have an intimate partner, practice regularly expressing appreciation for someone else in your life (a friend, your boss, an employee, or better yet, your child) – it’s great practice for when you do have a partner.
Single or coupled, I invite you to take this 30-day challenge. Every day, search inside for and express a little heartfelt gratitude for your loved one, And please let me know how your happiness level goes up and how it re-energizes your love life.