Research shows that a component of happy couples is how often they think positively about their partner when apart. These happy thoughts may reflect with pride on his or her many wonderful traits and feel thankful to be in relationship to him or her. Gottman’s marriage counseling research found that such thoughts help couples to cherish their partner and strengthen their fondness and admiration.
When partners are separated during daily events, both partners “maximize thoughts of the other partner’s positive qualities and minimize thoughts of negative ones.” The focusing on the partner’s positive characteristics strengthens their focus on being grateful for what they have rather than what they might be missing.
Most couples cherish one another in the beginning of the relationship but overtime they may take one another for granted and not realize they are neglecting to cherish each other. This can be easily reversed if both partners focus upon what they cherish in the other. Gottman provides several couple exercises to help partners daily identify the many positive aspects of the partner. It is similar to how the 12-step recovery programs use daily gratitude lists to focus on what is good in life rather than bad. If done daily for one month, you’re likely to find that your perspective on your partner and your marriage is greatly improved.
Gottman’s exercises asks each partner to write down and share a positive statement, or thought, followed by a task. “Think about each statement, and say it to yourself many times throughout the day while you and your spouse are apart.” He adds, “Although doing this exercise might sound silly or hokey, it is based on a wide body of research into the power of rehearsing positive thoughts.” The couples’ exercises begin on page 1661 of Gottman’s “The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work.” Singing each other’s praises can only benefit your marriage.