Thanksgiving is the perfect time to accelerate your partner’s affection and passion. It’s the holiday that reminds us to be thankful for all that we have, and to show appreciation for our bounty.

Applying this concept directly to our romantic lives creates a dramatic impact on our partner’s love for us. The power of appreciation isn’t just a ‘nicety’ that we should do. It’s the key to creating love.

Appreciation is the magical ingredient proven to augment love’s growth and guarantee its continuance.

I first became aware of the research surrounding this theory a few years ago while attending a lecture given by the noted psychologist, Dr. Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D. As a world-renowned relationship expert, and founder/director of the Milton Erickson Foundation, Dr. Zeig stressed the profound power of appreciation when applied to the arena of love and partnership.

Here are 4 steps guaranteed to spark your mate’s affection this holiday season:

1. Appreciation amplifies love.

The act of appreciation dramatically amplifies the amount of love we experience in our relationships. Even in cases where a love had been wounded or frozen by hurt, it revives when met with appreciation.

We soon realize that appreciation serves as a form of Miracle-Gro; love begins to blossom. Our partner feels safe to express their love for us, and we in turn feel safe to express our love for them.

Stunningly, stagnant relationships begin to flourish. Partners who were shut down begin to step-up and show their affection again. All humans need to feel ‘okay’ in the eyes of their partner. Appreciation is magical activator of this principle.

2. Small acts of kindness are huge.

The key to this winning formula lies in demonstrating daily ‘small acts’ of warmth towards your mate. Expressing what’s right and good in your partner is the fuel that keeps the fire alight as it awakens passion and reciprocity.

It’s not the splash of grand gestures, but rather the consistency of smaller meaningful moments that creates this gift so universally sought. A vibrant relationship thrives on the littler forms of consistent, positive reinforcement. This is the cement that allows your love to weather the storms of relationship issues and challenges.

Those small, seemly insignificant moments of appreciation are powerful. You may choose to express your appreciation through an approving smile, a warm touch, or by listening to your mate with genuine interest. This foundational output forms the bedrock upon which relationships survive and grow.

3. 5 positives erase 1 negative.

Having worked intimately with the most brilliant minds in this industry, Dr. Zeig cited the 5:1 “Magic Ratio.” Based on research done by colleague Dr. John Gottman, humans have been proven to need at least 5 positives experiences to bear the weight of 1 that is negative.

That means, for every one upsetting situation you and your partner meet, there must be the balance of five other positive events to erase its negative impact. “This is the constant,” Dr. Zeig stated. Moreover, if you’re wondering about the credibility of Dr. Gottman’s work, Zeig continued, “He can predict divorce within 97% of his clients.”

4. Validation reboots a stagnant relationship.

Look for the good in your partner. When you’re focused on what’s wrong with your mate you can’t see what’s good. Attention to the negative only reinforces noticing more of what’s negative in your partner.

Actively noticing and looking for the positive is a form of mental reconditioning. The effort involved in this exercise is small when weighed against the tremendous gains it reaps.

Concrete research has documented that feeling appreciated is key to the survival of a marriage as well as all other forms of committed partnerships. Being attentive, appreciative, and seeing the best in your partner creates the cohesion needed to withstand the vicissitudes of real-world living.

In the simple act of being willing to see more of what is good in your partner, that good increasingly becomes evident.

Try this winning holiday recipe for yourself. Over the next few days, be mindful of showing appreciation toward your mate. You’ll see a notable shift in your partner’s attitude as you spark their affection through positive reinforcement. Soon, you’ll both be reaping the ultimate benefit of this holiday season.