Do you want to improve your relationships with people - whether it be your parents, spouse, children, friends, acquaintances or just people you meet every day?
One way to improve your relationships is to show appreciation and be thankful to that person. When you do this the person will feel acknowledged and valued. In return they will be more giving, loving and open to you.
Prophet Muhammad (s) said, “Anyone who doesn’t thank people has not thanked Allah.” (Abu-Dawud and Tirmidhi). Allah loves that you are thankful to people and not miserly in doing so.
There could be two reasons that stops you from thanking people. Pride and arrogance is one of them. You may feel that you don't need anyone's help, that you already know and are able to do things for yourself. Or you may feel that it is a sign of weakness that someone has to help you. All these are diseases of the heart and you need to purge it from there.
The other reason is that you may think that they already know. But most of the time they don't know or they need to hear it often to reaffirm it. They need to feel that you are not taking them for granted. So don't assume everyone will know that you're thankful and appreciative of them. You need to be explicit. You need to express it in words and in actions.
Look into your relationship especially with your spouse and with your children. Are you telling them that you appreciate them? Are you showing them that you appreciate them?
Here are 3 ways how:
1. Say "Jazakallahu khayran"
"Jazakallahu khayran" means "May Allah reward you for your kindness". Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "Whoever has a favor done for him and says to the one who did it, ‘Jazak Allahu khayran,’ has done enough to thank him". [Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi].
2. Say "Thank you"
Say "Thank you" when time is brief but when you have more time say, "Thank you for ____(the action). It made me feel (or it gave me) ________. I really appreciate/cherish/value/treasure/respect/admire that."
Thank you for tidying up. It gave me more time to finish reading. I appreciate it.
Thanks for waiting. It gave me a chance to finish up. I really appreciate that.
Thank you for being on time. It made me feel acknowledged. I value that.
Thanks for listening to me. It made me feel heard. I cherish that.
3. Show them
There are many ways you could show your appreciation. Below are simple things you could do every day.
To your spouse: smile, hug, kiss and squeeze their hands.
To your children: smile, hug, kiss and touch their cheeks. Jābir ibn Samura said, "I prayed with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, the first prayer, then he went out and I went out with him. He was met by some children and rubbed their cheeks one by one. As for myself, he rubbed my cheek and I found that his hand was cool and fragrant, as if he had just taken it out of a perfume vendor’s bag." (From Muslim 7:81)
To find out ways to improve your family relationships through spending time together, get my book 'Family Fun Activity Guide: 35 Activities to Do Together Wherever You Live'. Just click the link now.