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10 Creative Ways To Express Gratitude In Your Relationship

'Tis the season to show a little gratitude to your boo.

Love & Relationships

It was actually pretty close to this time last year when I penned the piece "How To Get Through The Holidays If You Don't Observe Them". Unlike some of the other articles that I write for the site, I pulled that one from very personal experience. Being that my personality is very wired to "be good" on something once I know its origin, holidays are something that I tend to take a pass on; this includes Thanksgiving (some insightful reads on its origin are found here, here and here). Still, this doesn't mean I'm not aware of the fact that many people use this time of year to reflect on their blessings and to say "thanks" for all the good that has come their way. Since I like to write on relationships a lot, I thought to myself, "Why not come up with ways for people to show gratitude to their significant other?"

Not only is it a kind thing to do, expressing gratitude can also be a proactive way to preserve your relationship as well. Why do I say that? It's because, more times than not, whenever someone talks to me about how their relationship has gotten to the point where it's basically on life support, one of the main reasons why is because they feel taken for granted and not appreciated.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Whether you've only been with your boo for a few months or it's been several-years-and-counting, before you sit around a Thanksgiving dinner table to share all of the things that you are truly thankful for this year, please make the time to show your significant other why you're so grateful for them as well. If you need a little inspiration to come up with a cool way to do it, I've got a few.

How To Express Gratitude In Your Relationships

1. Write a List of What You Appreciate About Them. Then Frame It.

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"Appreciate" is a dope word. It means "to be grateful or thankful for" and "to value or regard highly; place a high estimate on". The reason why I think a lot of people feel taken for granted in their relationship is because their significant other tends to overlook another definition of the word—"to be fully conscious of; be aware of; detect".

All of us like to feel that the person we are seeing not only values us, but they also have the desire to make sure that we're aware of just how much they do. To jot down a list of reasons why you love or admire the special individual in your life and then frame it, not only is that a sentimental gesture, it's something that they can hold close to them for the rest of their life.

2. Mail a Handwritten Thank-You Note for a Week Straight

While checking out an article on Lifehack's site, it brought up some points about handwriting letters that I definitely thought was worth sharing. It said that handwriting sentiments was a really classy thing to do. Plus, it showed that you cared enough about someone to make the time to write your thoughts and feelings down. It even shared a study that revealed writing things can make you feel happier and more self-satisfied.

These days, we're so used to everything coming in the form of an email or text that, imagine how surprised the object of your affection will feel to receive seven handwritten thank-you notes—one for each day of the week. The only thing that would impress them more is if you actually sent them through the mail. Because who doesn't like to see something other than a bill in their mailbox?

3. Send an Email with 10 Ways They’ve Inspired You

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Not to say that emailing isn't also effective. If you take 5-10 minutes to think about what your boo has brought to your life since knowing them, you can probably easily come up with 10 ways that they've inspired you to become a better person. By expressing your gratitude in this way, not only will it be nice for your significant other to hear, it can also remind you of why you're with them in the first place. It'll be the best email they've received in a while. I'd be willing to put a good amount of money on that.

4. Create an Appreciation Jar

One of the best gifts that I've ever received, hands down, was from two friends who gave me a box. When I opened it up, there were different colored pieces of construction paper on them. Each had a word that my friends said described my personality. Come to think of it, I've had that box for about 15 years now. It's still on display and I still adore it because it was extremely thoughtful. It also gave me insight into how other people see me.

Another way to show your partner just how much you appreciate them is to create something similar; maybe something like an appreciation jar. Go to a local arts store, Walmart or Target to get a Mason jar (make sure it has a lid). Then, cut up some pieces of paper. On each one, type or handwrite one thing that you appreciate about them. Try and come up with enough things to fill the jar, at least halfway. It can be a great pick-me-up if they choose to place the jar on their desk at work. All they need to do is open it, pull out a piece of paper and bam—they will have an instant reminder of why there is at least one person on the planet who values them and is truly thankful for them. Not just for one reason but many.

5. Make Them a Gift Basket

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My godchildren's mom was recently telling me that she encouraged my older goddaughter to make the people in her life Christmas gifts this year instead of buying them. My godchild has particular taste, even at eight years of age, so she wasn't impressed with her mom's suggestion. But I can honestly say that the things that I've gotten from my goddaughter that have moved me the most are things that she handcrafted.

Just like my goddaughter, I think a lot of adults also underestimate the impact of what a handmade gift can do, especially if you're looking for ways to show someone how grateful they are to have them in your world. If you're open to considering making your partner something, how about a gift basket of some sort? You can create one that centers around a theme like a pampering or a favorite memories basket, or you can just put a variety of random small special items in it. Items like what? Your partner's favorite cookies; a framed picture of the two of you; a CD that features some of y'all's favorite songs; tickets to a movie or upcoming concert; a bottle of wine that the two of you can share; some scented candles; a copy of a book that they've been wanting to read—these are just some ideas to get your creative juices going. Once you know what you want to put into your basket, all you need to do is go to a local arts and crafts store to pick up a basket, some cellophane to wrap everything up in, along with a big ole' bow. Just like that, you're good to go.

6. Treat Them to Something They Enjoy Doing

Something that a lot of guys tell me that they hate about dating is the fact that, oftentimes, the date is centered around what the woman wants to do, not them. Some of us don't even think about this when we're talking to our man about what to do the following weekend.

No matter what your guy's love language may be, I don't know one man who wouldn't be moved by the "acts of service" decision to plan an entire date around the things that he enjoys most.

Maybe it's tickets to a game. Maybe it's doing something super adventurous. Maybe it's getting a meal from a favorite food truck and sitting in a car and talking for hours. The point is hone in on what his likes are and then to show how much you adore him by customizing a date that is totally centered around those things. The thought itself is something that will deeply move him. It really will.

7. Have Some “Thank You Flowers” Delivered to Their Job

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There's a platonic male friend of mine who I once brought flowers to. He had an acting debut and I thought that a bunch of sunflowers would be a cool gift. When I handed them to him, he said, "I've never received flowers before. I never thought that I would like getting them this much." He still talks about that to this day. That's why sending flowers makes this list. Although traditionally, we think of floral deliveries going to women, I think it would put a smile on a lot of men's faces to get a fresh bouquet at their place of business. Especially when it's from their lady and includes a sweet note.

As far as what kind of flowers to get, ones that specifically express gratitude include roses, irises, chrysanthemums, sweet peas and any kind of yellow flower. If you want to be symbolic, that is.

8. Give Them a Personalized Gratitude Journal

Another way to show your boo just how grateful you are for them is to gift them with a gratitude journal. The reason why this can ultimately prove to be the gift that keeps on giving is because there is a significant amount of scientific evidence to support that expressing gratitude on a regular basis enhances relationships, improves one's physical as well as psychological health, improves our self-esteem and even makes it easier to sleep at night.

Make the journal an extra special present by getting it personalized with their name on it, along with a favorite love quote, song lyric or an original sentiment about how you feel about your partner. Don't forget to write an inscription on the inside of the journal too. As far as where you can get a personalized journal, off the top of my head, I know that Etsy offers some that are at a pretty reasonable price.

9. Purchase Something Made Out of “Gratitude Crystals”

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If you want to give a gift that comes in the form of jewelry or maybe even a keychain, how about giving your partner something that is made out of crystals that evoke feelings of gratitude by making the individual feel good about themselves? Druzy crystals promote feelings of self-love. Sodalites promote feelings of self-awareness. Danburite encourages people to let their light shine. Rhodochrosite symbolizes joy and compassion in one's life. Green Aventurine is both a comforter as well as a heart healer. A gift that has these kinds of meanings will make the receiver grateful to receive it, and grateful every time that they wear it (or use it) and the gift-giver comes to mind.

10. Get a Wall Calendar and Write a Memory You Cherish for Each Month of the Year

We are right on the cusp of a new year. Something else that you can do to keep your partner organized and make them feel appreciated is to get them a 2020 wall calendar. Then, for each month, write a memory pertaining to you two's relationship that you truly cherish. It's kind. It's thoughtful. And it's something that they can make use of for the next 365 days.

I can just imagine how much closer a lot of people would be in their relationship of expressing gratitude was a priority. Set the bar by doing something creative for your partner over the next few days. It will make both of you feel that much closer. Gratitude always does.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Sometimes, when things are a little "off" when it comes to our health, there are simple steps that we can take to get ourselves back on track. For instance, did you know that around 92 percent of Americans are considered to be vitamin or mineral deficient in some way? And since there are core nutrients that all of us need in order to function properly, it's important that we're aware of what certain deficiencies are directly linked to.

Today, that is the focus. Here are eight health-related issues that, oftentimes, if we'd just add more of a vitamin or mineral into our system, we will start to feel better in no time (technically a couple of weeks but you get my drift).

1. Muscle Cramping

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Something that happens randomly to me sometimes is I'll have a muscle that cramps up, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I'll snack on a banana and start to feel better. You know why? It's because bananas are high in potassium and potassium is a nutrient that our system needs in order for our muscles to easily contract. If you sweat a lot or don't have enough fluids in your system, you can become a high candidate for being potassium deficient. As far as how much your body requires on a daily basis, it's somewhere between 3,000-4,000 mg a day. Foods that are a good source of this mineral (that is also an electrolyte) include mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and lentils.

2. Lip Cracking

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If your PMS is off the chain or you've been catching a lot of colds lately, it could be because you need some more Vitamin B6 in your life. However, a telling sign that this is almost definitely the case is if the corners of your lips are cracking or even if your tongue feels a bit swollen.

The main thing to keep in mind with this point is if you're noticing indications that you could stand to have more Vitamin B6, there's a pretty good chance that your system has gotten close to totally running out. And just how much does your body need of this vitamin on the daily? About 1.3 mg. Up it up to 1.5 mg if you're over the age of 50.

Foods that are loaded with Vitamin B6 are peanuts, poultry, oats, avocados and pistachios.

3. Brittle Nails

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If it seems like no matter how much pampering you do to your nails, they are brittle and breaking, that could be an indication that you are low in iron and/or Vitamin C. The reality is that just our periods alone can make us vulnerable to having lower iron levels. And just how much should you be getting into your system? A lot of healthcare professionals recommend somewhere around 14.8 mg each day. As far as the Vitamin C goes, not only can you have brittle nails when you're not getting enough of it, this is a nutrient that makes it easier for your body to absorb iron too. 75 mg per day of it is recommended (120 mg each day if you're pregnant or are breastfeeding). Foods that are high in iron include beef, dark leafy greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli. Foods that are a good source of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, berries and Brussel sprouts.

4. Allergy Symptoms

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If you've got allergy symptoms that are driving you totally up the wall or you're someone who deals with asthma or eczema, these things can be so much worse for you if you are low in omega-3. Long story short, they're fatty acids that pretty much every part of our body needs from our skin and hair to our reproductive system and our heart. Matter of fact, I actually read once that if you tend to have an excessive amount of earwax, that can also be a heads up that omega-3 is lacking. As far as how much is good for you, 1.1 grams daily is enough. And as far as foods that have omega-3 in them, those would be walnuts, spinach, salmon, chia seeds and eggs.

5. Weakness

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Magnesium is both a mineral as well as an electrolyte that helps to regulate muscle and nerve functions and keep your blood sugar in balance. Well, when you don't have enough magnesium in you, it can cause you to experience extreme amounts of fatigue and weakness. A part of the reason why is because magnesium is what helps to keep your potassium levels where they should be. So, when your potassium levels are low, your muscles will not perform with as much strength as they should. Somewhere around 315 mg each day is what your system requires. Foods that are loaded with magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, halibut, bananas and dark chocolate.

6. Hair Loss

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One of the main things that all of us need in order for our hair to flourish is zinc. It's a mineral that assists with hair tissue growth and repair, fights dandruff and, it also helps your scalp to produce the sebum that it needs for your hair follicles to remain healthy. That's why it makes a lot of sense that if you're low in zinc, you could possibly suffer from some hair loss or, the very least, hair breakage. What can keep your tresses in good condition is if you consume around 8 mg of zinc daily. Foods that are high in it include Greek yogurt, cashews, black beans, sesame seeds and kale.

7. Sleepiness

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OK, if you're out here getting less than six hours a night on a consistent basis, that's probably not an indication that you are lacking a nutrient; what that probably means is you are sleep deprived.

However, if it seems like no matter how much sleep you get at night and/or naps you take during the day, you are still sleepy as all get out, what that could be telling you is that you are low in Vitamin B12. I can personally attest to this because I was sleepy a lot (and I get no less than six hours a night and sometimes a nap) until I started taking a B12 supplement. When you're low in this vitamin, it can trigger sleepiness or even sleeplessness because it plays a significant role in maintaining your energy levels.

It's kinda crazy that a lot of us are Vitamin B12 deficient when most of us only need .002 mg a day of it. Anyway, foods that are a good source of this nutrient include liver, fortified cereals, shellfish, nutritional yeast and milk alternatives (like almond or oat milk).

8. Food Cravings

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Last fall, I wrote an article about signs that you've got a sugar addiction going on (you can check it out here). One indication is if you're constantly wanting to eat sweets all of the time. Well, along these same lines, if you're experiencing food cravings, that too could mean that you've not some nutrient deficiencies happening. Sweets typically mean that you can stand to have more magnesium or tryptophan. Fatty foods mean you need more calcium. Red meat, caffeine or the desire to chew ice means you're low in iron. Salt is oftentimes connected to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Wanting to eat bread all of the time could also mean that you could use a tryptophan boost (because you are looking for something to make you feel better and bread is a comfort food. Tryptophan helps to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin so that you don't want bread as much). Foods that are high in tryptophan include tuna, cheese, turkey, milk and apples.

While I certainly wasn't able to tackle all of the nutrient deficient-related issues that exist, take this as a bit of an intro cheat sheet. Again, if you are currently experiencing any of these issues, try getting more vitamins and minerals into your system. You might be surprised just how big of an impact...a little bit of tweaking can make.

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