One Minute To A Happier Partner

December 26,2018

“Hey babe, do you have any stories about appreciation?” I asked Xander this morning.

“Ugh, you know I’m no good at thinking about this stuff on the spot.” He responded. He was carrying his tea mug and laptop upstairs to his office. It was obvious that he was already in work mode, and not prepared to talk about relationship stuff. But I pressed on!

“What does it feel like when I express appreciation for you?”

I couldn’t see his face, but I could just feel the shift in his tone and energy. “I love it when I cook you dinner, and you take a few bites in silence, then you look up at me, and give me a really big, goofy smile, and tell me I made a great dinner. It makes me feel like I’m taking care of you and you’re loving it.” He said, his voice brimming with pride.

That, my friends, is the power of appreciation. Xander was not in the mood for a lovey-dovey relationship conversation in that moment, but even simply reminiscing on a time that I showed him gratitude completely shifted his energy.

So today, I want to talk about how you can experience those kinds of moments with your partner.

This month, I’m sharing four gifts your partner REALLY wants this holiday season, and continuing my absolutely free, 31 Days, 31 Ways challenge, which will give you small, actionable ways to prioritize your relationship every single day.

I’m dedicated to helping your relationship thrive – not just survive – during the holidays, and to set 2019 up to be the best year for your relationship yet!

The gifts your partner REALLY wants this year

This week’s gift is the gift of appreciation.

(Click here for a reminder of gift #1 and here for a reminder of #2.)

The sad reality is that so much of what we do for our partners, and what they do for us, goes unacknowledged. We get used to the things we do for each other, and we stop making the effort to call out those actions.

For example, I can’t remember the last time Xander thanked me for doing the laundry, even though I do an awesome job at it. (I am Martha Stewart-level pro with folding fitted sheets!)

I bugged Xander for an example of something he does that goes unacknowledged, and he said I rely on him to do all the navigation whenever we go anywhere (I’m terrible with maps), and rarely thank him for it.

It sucks to feel unseen and unappreciated for your efforts. It makes it hard to stay motivated to keep doing those things, especially when you go out of your way to do extra-special stuff.

I’m going to keep doing the laundry regardless of whether or not Xander appreciates it, but it would break my heart if I arranged a date night for us and he didn’t even say “thank you.”

If I kept planning date nights, and Xander kept not saying anything, I’d get more and more upset. Because here’s the dark side of appreciation: feeling unappreciated can very quickly turn into feeling resentful.

The crazy thing about all of this is that it is SO EASY to show appreciation to your partner. And even one simple sentence can feel SO GOOD for both of you!

Seriously, I can’t think of many other things that have such high payoff for so little effort.

So my challenge to you is to spend this week expressing more appreciation for your partner.

First, I want you to get more in touch with your own gratitude. Every morning, take a minute to think about:

Then, I want you to share that gratitude with your partner. Every night, tell your partner one thing that was particularly meaningful to you that day, whether it was a small thing they did, or a characteristic of their personality. For example, “I really appreciated that you helped me set up my new computer, without me even asking you.”

There’s really no such thing as too much appreciation, so try to share your gratitude with your partner throughout the day too!

It’s nice to call things out as they happen, even if they’re just little things like, “Thanks for taking the dogs on a walk with me,” or, “I really appreciate you giving me feedback on my work project.”

You can also share a more general sense of gratitude with your partner by saying something like, “I’m just appreciating you right now.”

I guarantee your partner will LOVE this gift!

And the more you practice being grateful for your partner, the more you will start to notice the many things you have to be grateful for.

Gratitude has a crazy way of compounding itself. All of the examples I wrote in this post are actually examples of things I’m grateful for about Xander. Once I started thinking about things I appreciate, more and more examples started pouring out of me!


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!