Thanksgiving comes this week in the United States. Many research studies show how choosing to be grateful can improve mental and physical wellbeing, and it’s certainly a vital spiritual practice. But we don’t often consider the ways in which gratitude transforms your marriage.
You married a sinner, and when communication challenges, unmet expectations, or the daily busyness of life come along it’s easy to focus on the things your marriage does not provide. Minor irritations or more serious challenges can become walls keeping you apart.
Gratitude can change all that. You’ve often heard that marriage takes work, and it does. But if you never stop to notice the good things, you’re missing out on the joy – not to mention the transformation – that gratitude can provide to your marriage and your life.
I’m not talking about sweeping major problems under the proverbial rug, or putting up with abuse, addiction, or infidelity. But choosing gratitude is powerful in transforming both you and your spouse.
Gratitude Changes YOU
If you purchase a new Toyota Highlander, you suddenly notice every other Highlander on the road (or whatever vehicle you purchased). It’s the same with your marriage. You will find more of whatever you look for. If you focus on your spouse’s failure to communicate well, you’ll feel slighted and miserable constantly. But if you focus on the aspects of your spouse and your marriage that are fulfilling and healthy you’ll experience significantly more joy and satisfaction.
Gratitude is the polarizing lens highlighting the ways in which your spouse is God’s blessing to you. It makes you easier to live with and more appealing to be around. It’s one of the best antidotes to disappointment and irritation.
Be intentional about looking for good things in your marriage and in your spouse. Pause and thank God for the person He blessed you with. Look into your spouse’s eyes and say, “Thank you for loving me!” Without waiting for special occasions find creative ways to express your sincere appreciation for who your spouse is to you “just because.”
Gratitude Changes Your Spouse
If you do something for your child, or your boss, or your friend and they notice and express real gratitude, don’t you want to do that again? Gratitude sweetens the relationship and invites you to invest more of yourself with that person. It’s the same with your spouse.
Your husband or wife likes to feel appreciated also. They will naturally do more of what you notice and intentionally express gratitude for. Unless your spouse has an evil heart your honest and heartfelt thanks will draw them closer to you and make them want to do even more of what you appreciate. It’s just human nature.
If you want to “train” your spouse, look for even small ways in which they do something you value, or that meets your needs in some way. Then express authentic gratitude. Notice what it took for your spouse to do that, and let them know what it meant to you. Wouldn’t you want to do more of what made you look like a hero or a queen to your spouse? Your spouse will want to do the same.
Thanksgiving at Home
If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this week, take some extra time to let your spouse know how special they are to you. Before the food and the football games begin, take your spouse in your arms, look them in the eyes, and tell them “Thank you!”
Your Turn: In what ways is your spouse a blessing to you? How can you let your spouse know you appreciate them? Leave a comment below.
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- Expressing honest appreciation to your spouse transforms your marriage. It changes both you and them. Do it regularly. Tweet that.
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