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Beyond “I Love You”

To commemorate National Gratitude Month, culminating in our Thanksgiving Day celebration, I’ve chosen gratefulness for your partner as the theme of this blog post. In my experience, couples tell their mate that they love him/her more often than they express various forms of gratitude.

thank-youIn addition to frequently stating and showing our affection, Ruth and I regularly say “thank you,” even for simple/mundane gestures. We also tell each other what we admire, appreciate and respect about one another. Doing so enriches and elevates our love, besides giving us personal pleasure in the telling.

World-renowned marriage therapists and researchers John and Julie Gottman have found that happy, well-functioning couples say five positive things to their partners for every unfavorable comment (5:1 ratio). Conversely, markedly dysfunctional couples offer about five critical remarks for each positive one, thus a 1:5 ratio of affirming to negative. Those couples usually divorce.

Here are some keys to delivering your thoughts and feelings of gratitude to your partner:

  • Be sure that your mate is available to really hear you.
  • Be specific about your praise, rather than simply mentioning a general/global trait.couples looking lovingly at each other
  • Give examples of the attitudes and behaviors you appreciate.
  • Say what you especially like or admire.
  • Speak with genuine feeling, without being overly effusive (over the top).
  • Refrain from undermining your compliment by stating exceptions or buts (left-handed compliments).

I regard gratitude, along with its “first cousin,” humility, as a cornerstone of spirituality. I’m sincerely grateful for numerous things in life, which expands my heart and allows me to truly affirm and celebrate my wife. Ruth and I met each other on November 11th 50 years ago; my joy is ineffably immense!

I ardently invite you to plunge headlong into thankfulness and to discover the profound richness that ensues from daily praising your beloved or a significant other in your life.

Happy continual thanksgiving,


Jim SharonJim Sharon, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist in private practice, has served as a counselor for over 40 years. He attained his life coach certification in 2001 and has received additional training in spiritual direction. Since 2014, he and his wife, Ruth, have specialized in coaching committed, devoted couples to significantly enhance their relationship. Jim and Ruth were voted best relationship coaches in Colorado in 2015 and 2016. Jim has previously served as a business and agency consultant, presented at state and national psychological conferences and has appeared on many radio and TV shows. He is the author of two books and many professional articles.



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