Here’s a simple and fun exercise to make your relationship deeper. Listen with your beloved to Sinead O’Connor singing about gratitude. Then share together things you are grateful about. That’s it, listen and share, and your relating will move a step towards deeper intimacy.
I got the idea from some great research by Dr. Ron Rogge that newly-wed couples can halve their divorce rate simply by watching and discussing five movies about everyday relating. I don’t claim any such dramatic results for this playlist of pop songs. But listen together to these tracks, discuss them together, and you will at the least have a more loving understanding of each other.
Thank you for hearing me by Sinéad O’Connor
This song has great riches of understandings.
Thank you for hearing me … Thank you for seeing me … Thanks for silence with me
… Thank you for breaking my heart, Thank you for tearing me apart
Thank you for silence with me. The deepest communion between two people is in silence; a sharing of beingness that is beyond personality and beyond differences. So the line Thank you for silence with me is a most beautiful expression of love, and it is rare indeed in popular songs.
As a relationship exercise though, the focus of the this post is gratitude.
Thank you for breaking my heart. There’s a gratitude which is thankfulness to a person. And there’s another gratitude which is not even addressed to any individual. It flows from an inner wellspring which is beyond “This is good” and “That is bad” and takes everything life brings to us as a gift, the pain as well as the joy, the loss as well as the gain.
The final lines, a genuine thank-you to life even for a broken heart, make this a song of true gratitude. And in Sinéad O’Connor’s videos as she sings those words, it’s plain the journey of the heart she has been on to reach that point.
This post is about sharing gratitude with your beloved. It is not focussed on breaking up – this post is purely about gratitude. If you are reading this post in a breakup, please see the reassurance at the bottom on the page.
Gratitude is the distilled essence of love. We so easily take life for granted, but if cold water didn’t flow from the tap for a few days, we’d be so grateful when – if – it came back. We so easily take those we love for granted. It is beautiful to let the other person know how much you value them. It is joyful to be reminded how much the other values us. It is a profound communion to speak together of things you are grateful for, any things in any area of life, and share the experience of gratitude.
Things you might like to talk about. This is simple. Take turns to tell your partner THIRTY-FIVE things that you are grateful for in your life. Include things in your individual life, and with the other person. Big things, little things, any context, at any age. You just say “I’m grateful for …” or “I appreciate …” or “I value …” We so easily take life’s gifts for granted. So when you run out of things you’re grateful for, move on to “Something I take for granted, but I am grateful for, is …” and you’ll find a lot more. You could also experiment with “Something I wouldn’t have, if I lived five hundred years ago, that I’m grateful for is …”
Really 35 things. Each. That is not a joke. In fact there is science behind it. Keep going through the silences. Often with exercises like this, the first few answers come easily, then there is a gap and you think you’ve finished. That was just the “general knowledge” answers; keep going, you come to a deeper level. Again you run out; keep going! often after 25 or 30 answers, only then you come to real gold. This is an empirical discovery by solution-oriented therapists, including myself, that you sometimes get something very special only after a couple of dozen responses.
Negative stuff in your current life, oh, just push it aside: “My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.” Stephen Hawking
[A reassurance if you are reading this in a breakup: After a breakup or an affair it takes quite some work to get to the stage of gratitude for a broken heart. Not easy, not quick. So if you’re reading this in a breakup and this isn’t you, don’t give yourself a hard time. Do not aspire or strive for gratitude. Be real and be consciously present with yourself, love yourself exactly where you are. All the varied breakup stages: “Pleeeeaaase come back”, “I’ll get you!!!”, “If only it was yesterday”, “Fuck, I screwed up again”, “I’m never good enough”, “Tell me what I did wrong?”, “I’ll never meet anyone else,” not to mention good old bitter vengeful hurt ( I want you to know, Alanis Morisette) are all valid normal places to be. Accept each one, love yourself in each one, be conscious, be present, at the right time let each one go.]