Attitude of Gratitude
Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. – Charles Swindoll
Your life and your marriage are a reflection of your attitude. It is so easy to adopt a negative and cynical attitude if we look around us and see the tragedy and injustice in the world as reported by the media. Each of us also experiences heartache and injustice in on own lives which can make us turn sour on the world and have a negative effect on our relationship. Not only does this negative attitude prevent you from fully enjoying your own life, it also dampens the fun, romance, connection, joy and creativity in your marriage.
One of the best things that you can give to your spouse is your positive attitude – an attitude of gratitude. Not everyone sees the glass as “half-full”, but even if you are “an Eeyore” (as in Winnie the Pooh), you can train yourself to have a good and positive attitude. Yes, there are always things that could be better about your life or marriage, but don’t let that rob you of the good things that are there as well.
Thanksgiving is a lifestyle – not just a holiday!
Why Gratitude Strengthens a Relationship
- It is honoring to each other. Any time that you express gratitude to someone, you honor them. When you are truly thankful for something that your spouse has done and you express your gratitude to them, you honor them?
- It tethers our hearts. Honoring your partner through gratitude validates them personally and deepens your love for one another. Encourage and build each other up through expressing gratitude and your bond will grow stronger.
- It develops positive attributes in us. When you can find things to be grateful for in your life and you express that gratitude, it builds you into a stronger and more evolved person. You will find that you are better able to handle challenges and even disappointments if you have a “grateful heart.”
- It encourages and builds up others
If your relationship reflects a loving and grateful attitude, your family, friends and people that you encounter in you daily life will benefit. They will see an example of how relationships can be and it will give them hope and the desire to have that kind of relationship themselves. You will shine among them like stars in the sky!
- It opens the door for possibilities and opportunities
If you are grateful in advance of the good things that are yet to happen in your life, you will attract those things to you. Possibilities and opportunities that once seemed impossible become possible. It is a demonstration of faith in God and in yourselves.
Remember: “I Get To!”
A positive change that leads to an attitude of gratitude is to say “get to” instead of “have to” when you refer to your marriage. Think things like, “I get to have a daily dyad with my spouse. I get to focus on the good things about him/her. I get to work through this issue with a person whom I love and who loves me.”
Gratitude Journal. To help cultivate and attitude of gratitude, develop a gratitude journal and share it with your spouse. Each day, write down what you are thankful for in your life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about your relationship. Include why you are grateful for this thing/person. It can be anything that adds value to your life like, “ I am really grateful for a good night’s sleep because I feel refreshed and ready for the day,” or “I am thankful that Jim is my friend because I can always depend on him for honest feedback” or “I love that the flowers in the front beds are so beautiful this year because they make me feel happy.”
Dyad With Your Partner
Why not sit facing your partner each day for a few minutes (a dyad) and have a “gratitude” conversation? Each of you share one thing that you admire or appreciate about the other and how it makes you feel.
“I admire/ appreciate ____________ and it makes me feel ___________.
Then share with each other something that you are grateful for, other than your spouse, and say why you are grateful for it. It can be anything as long as you are genuinely appreciative that this thing or person(s) are a part of your life. It’s all about attitude!
“I am grateful for ______________ because _____________.”
Now focus on each other and what you “get to” do for each other and for your relationship. Think of some of the tougher things that you each or both are facing. Think of three things that it would bless you mate to know that you have a positive attitude about and use the phrase “get to” instead of “have to.” Examples: “I’m glad that we get to tackle our debt as a team, “or “I’m glad that I get to remodel this house with you,” or “I’m thankful that I get to be here for you in dealing with your health issues.”
“I am glad that I get to ___________________________ with you.
If you are struggling in your relationship and finding it difficult to “find your grateful heart,” that’s normal. You may need to start with just the small things to be grateful for. Appreciate a meal that your partner cooked or the fact that they straightened up the pillows on the couch. Notice and comment on small things.
If you are unable to change your attitude to show gratitude, it may be time to reach out for individual counseling or life coaching. You and your partner may need to get away together and attend a marriage retreat or marriage seminar to help you both begin to appreciate each other again. Attitude is the most important attribute that you have and gratitude is the most powerful and productive attitude!