Thank you so much for joining me for our fifth edition of the "How to Love your Partner" series. And, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm going to be talking to you today about how to love your ungrateful partner. Because, especially around the holidays, sometimes it can seem like our partners are just being flat-out ungrateful. Check out this week's video tip.
To start, what is the definition of gratitude? I looked this up, and I was really surprised to see that there's two main parts to this: First of all, it is the quality of being thankful. But, it's also the readiness to show our appreciation.
I want you to think about this for a minute, because sometimes when our partners appear to us as being ungrateful, maybe it's just because they've really struggled to show appreciation. So, just keep that in mind.
And, typically what I would do in these videos is I'd give you ways to maybe talk to your partner and have conversations about these different topics that you are struggling with. Not today.
What I'm going to do today is I am going to give you tips that you can do on your own to try to love your ungrateful partner a little bit more:
1. Maintain the 5:1 Ratio
I want you to think about your interactions with your partner. According to John Gottman's research, it's the happiest couples that maintain this ratio of 5 to 1 interactions. This refers to five positive interactions to every one negative interaction. And, so five positive interactions, those can be anything from just a "Hello", to a kiss on the cheek, to a "How's your day today?", anything that feels positive to your partner for every one negative interaction. So, really try to maintain that high ratio. What it does is it helps you to actually become more grateful for your partner and appreciate them more.
2. Trick Your Brain with "Simulated Joy"
OK, I know how that sounds. Stick with me. Test this out: I want you to find photos of the two of you. These can be in photo albums (Remember back in the day, when we actually printed out photos?) or pictures on your phone. Take your time and look through those.
You know that our brains react to real danger and perceived danger the same way, right? What happens is it will release cortisol and adrenaline--even if there isn't actual danger around, but it perceives that there's danger. This means that our brains will also react to perceived love and joy or real love and joy indiscriminately too.
So, when you're looking at these photos, these positive memories of your partner, and you're really focusing on this, you're actually creating the circumstances to cause your brain to secrete serotonin. And, serotonin is what's called our cuddle drug, because it just makes you feel good and makes you want to cuddle.
While you're looking at some photos, you might want to involve your partner in that and see if that can shift their level of gratitude too. Pull them in, look at photos together, see what happens.
If you're still struggling with this and you feel like you'd like some extra help with learning how to love your ungrateful partner, I'd love to hear from you. I'd love to work with you and help you learn how to love your ungrateful partner just a little bit more this year.