When we first begin falling in love, we notice everything. We take note of how our love-interest acts, what they do and what they say. We are grateful for the effort they put into the relationship, every act of kindness, and any gesture toward us.
From Gratitude to Expectation
As our relationship moves into the commitment to a life together forever, our attention moves to different things. Setting up a household, budget and routine are on our minds instead of the nice things our spouse is doing.
Unconsciously and unintentionally we stop feeling gratitude for what our spouse is doing and who they are. Instead, too often, we only notice it if it does not happen. The thing we once said “thank you” for has moved from something novel and nice to something that we expect. And when it doesn’t happen, we feel disappointed, sad or hurt.
The Power of Thankfulness
Thankfulness, or lack thereof, significantly impacts our marriage relationship.
- Hikes Happiness: Spouses who feel and show thankfulness are happier than spouses who do not.
- Prevents Divorce: Couples who express thankfulness are less likely to divorce.
- Grows Thankfulness: Spouses are more likely to show thankfulness to their spouse when they are receiving thankfulness from their spouse.
- Reduces Negativity: Marriages where thankfulness is felt and expressed have fewer negative emotions and interactions can thankless marriages.
- Improves Trust: Expressing thankfulness to each other has a high correlation with trust. The more you thank your spouse, the stronger the trust grows in the marriage.
- Boosts Value: Spouses who receive thankfulness from their spouse on a regular basis feel needed, important and valuable to their spouse.
- Encourages More: Spouses are more likely to continue the action when they receive thankfulness from their spouse.
- Raises Respect: Spouses who receive thankfulness feel respected more than spouses who do not receive thankfulness.
Thanking Your Spouse Well
In our work with couples in Marriage Intensives, we have found that spouses on the brink of divorce can usually find several things for which to be thankful. If you are having a hard time at developing a list of things to thank your spouse about, consider all the many things they do, day in and day out, which you take for granted.
Once you have your list, consider how you will express your thankfulness. One way to thank your spouse is to tell them specifically what they are doing that you for which your thankful. We believe it is received best by getting face to face with your spouse, looking into their eyes, holding their hands, and telling them, “What I am so thankful for about you is…”.
Telling them what they do that you are thankful for is even more powerful if you tie it to a characteristic or quality that they have.
“What I am so thankful for you about is that you always bring me coffee every morning.”
“What I am so thankful for you about is that you have such a servants heart. Like very morning when you bring me coffee.”
Be A Cup Filler
It is hard to give something that you do not have. That is especially true when giving thanks. But waiting for your staff to fill your cup before you start filling theirs leads to continued un-thankfulness. Be a cup filler. Give thanks first. Go first in creating a marriage habit of thankfulness and you will notice that you feel happier and that as their cup fills they will begin to reciprocate.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Does your marriage need more marriage? What are you thankful for in your marriage? Are you filling your spouse cup? What other suggestions you would add to this article? Do you know someone you need to forward this article to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.