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Gratitude Journal – What Are You Grateful For In Your Relationship?

A powerful but challenging exercise.
  • 27 May 2024
  • 5min

Studies show that how we feel in our relationship has a significant impact on our own well-being. Shifting focus to what you are grateful for in your relationship helps you appreciate your partner and relationship more.

What are the pros of writing a gratitude journal? Evolution has taught us to always be alert to threats in our surroundings. This makes it easy for us to get stuck focusing on the negative, which also applies to our close relationships, specifically the relationship with our partner.

In this exercise, you will be guided to actively focus on what you appreciate about your partner and are grateful for in your relationship by writing a gratitude journal. This helps you connect with feelings of closeness and warmth.

Why practise active gratitude?

Our brain is built to react instantly to threats. Throughout evolution, this has helped us survive. However, the downside is that we easily get stuck focusing on what we are dissatisfied with, or worrying about the future. It’s as if we constantly carry an inner critic pointing out the flaws in ourselves and our surroundings.

This ability to notice and react to what might be dangerous or harmful has been crucial for our species’ survival. But in situations where it’s not a matter of life or death, this ability can trip us up. This can become evident in our close relationships. Once we start getting annoyed by something, we often continue to notice it. Consequently, we become less likely to notice the positive aspects that our partner has or what our partner does that we appreciate.

Actively shifting focus to the positive can also be a way to pause in a hectic everyday life. Remind yourself of the good things about your partner and your relationship. In other words, intentionally do the opposite of taking your partner for granted.

Gratitude journal – A powerful but challenging exercise

In this exercise, you will be guided to actively focus on what you appreciate about your partner or are grateful for in your relationship right now. You will be encouraged to reflect on why you feel grateful and to stay with the feeling that's evoked in you.

A good way to do this is by writing a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal involves spending a few minutes each day writing down what you are grateful for, daily gratitude. Here, you should focus on what you are grateful for in your relationship and what you appreciate about your partner!

This can be a challenging exercise, especially if things currently feel tough or difficult in the relationship. If you feel frustrated, disappointed, or lonely, this exercise with gratitude journal might not seem appealing or easy for you. We hope you are willing to give it a chance, if only to explore what it might offer you!

Does writing a gratitude journal feel difficult? It might help to think back to the time when you and your partner first became a couple. What did you fall for? What qualities did you appreciate most with your partner at the beginning of your relationship?

Getting started with a gratitude journal – How the exercise works

Think of three things you are grateful for

Think of three things you are grateful for or appreciate about your partner, or your relationship right now. It can be anything, big or small.

A personality trait or something about your partner’s appearance that you like. Something your partner has done that you appreciate. Maybe an example of when you were a great team or a delightful memory from a moment together.

Stay in the feeling

Go through the three things you have chosen that you are grateful for, one by one. Try to stay in the warm feeling that arises. It often becomes easier if you think of a specific time when this was clear to you. Reflect back on the situation.

Reflect on why you are grateful

What is the significance of what you are grateful for in your life and well-being? Describe to yourself why you feel grateful for this particular thing.

Try to repeat this active gratitude exercise regularly. Many find it helpful to decide on a specific time that is convenient for writing in a gratitude journal. Some find it a positive way to start the day by doing it first thing in the morning, while others think it suits better in the evening.

Give yourself an extra challenge and try to do the exercise even during moments when you might be irritated or disappointed with your partner. How does it feel? Does it affect your experience of your partner or your relationship in any way?

In our app Ally, there is an exercise called Active Gratitude which helps you build the habit of writing a gratitude journal.

Get started on building a stronger and closer relationship

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