When my SO does something nice for me that I didn't expect, do I feel an obligation to give them something equal in return? If I do, it's likely that I also have a hidden wish to have my acts of kindness returned in similar ways.
If I do something for my partner with such expectations, then I'm not truly giving them love - I'm bartering with them. Sometimes it's hard to know for sure, but one of the surest tests I can use is whether I feel disappointed if the favor isn't returned.
Likewise, if I feel obligated to do or give them something in return, I may actually do more harm than good. I deprive myself of the full enjoyment of their gift, because my thoughts focus so quickly on what I can do back for them. I become anxious when I can't seem to think of something appropriate. In the end, I may even slightly resent the fact that they put me in such a position.
Why do I think a "thank you" is not enough? In simply giving my SO my gratitude, I give them the recognition that their gift was truly loving, with no strings attached. And it's hard for things to get tangled, when there are no strings.
@Copyright Bernd Hansen - Contents may be downloaded or copied for personal non-commercial use.