I haven’t always cherished my wife like I do now. For many years of our marriage, I’ve taken her for granted. But complacency undermines happiness. Now, as we sit around the table on Thanksgiving Day with family and friends, I like to express gratitude for my wife. It’s not the only time I express gratitude for my spouse, but it’s an important reminder of the value in expressing gratitude for her year around.
The Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude has psychological benefits for the giver as much as the receiver. The brain cannot easily focus on positive and negative stimuli at the same time. When a person expresses and receives gratitude, it’s like the sun breaking through dark clouds, a cool breeze on a hot and humid day, or cold water to parched lips. The positive influence of gratitude sweeps negative thoughts and emotions to the side.
In the daily grind of checking off items on our to-do lists, meeting deadlines, and responding to the urgent needs of their kids, spouses engaged in the intensity of activity around them can lose their connection with each other.
Gratitude restores broken connections between spouses. We’re drawn to those who appreciate us. When we’re hurried and pulled in multiple directions, it sharpens our focus on what’s most important. In moments of conflict, it breaks the tension.
We all crave appreciation. Few things warm a person's soul more than the words “thank you.’ We feel wanted and valued. Our mood is lifted, and our confidence is boosted. Our drive and motivation are fueled to keep us going, especially during life’s more difficult moments.
How to Express Appreciation
Consider using one or more of these four expressions of appreciation to show gratitude for your spouse throughout the year.
- Say it. Expressing gratitude with sincerely spoken words is the easiest way to show appreciation. Spoken words are also powerful in their ability to convey tone and emotion that we cannot communicate in any other way.
- Write it. Written words of gratitude can be cherished in a way spoken words cannot. In our nightstand drawers, my wife and I keep cards we’ve received from each other. Her words are also inscribed on sticky notes posted on my computer monitor. While text message and emails are nice, there’s added value in handwritten words printed on paper. We can more easily display them, frame them, or tuck them away in a safe place. The power of written messages is they can’t easily be forgotten. The recipient can read them daily, even months or years later and revive the positive emotions they evoked the first time we read them.
- Give it. Sometimes words of gratitude aren’t enough. Add power to your spoken or written appreciation with a loving touch or warm hug given to your spouse. Thoughtful gifts are also welcome gestures. In addition to purchased gifts, consider expressing gratitude to your spouse with the gift of time or service spent on doing something for them or alongside them that they usually do by themselves.
- Broadcast it. Express your gratitude for your spouse in front of your friends, family, and his or her coworkers. But be careful not to embarrass him or her. Tell your children how much you appreciate their mom or dad. Tell your in-laws how grateful you are for their son or daughter. Don’t hesitate to let other people in your life know who you cherish the most.
Here’s What Happens When You’re Thankful for Your Spouse #marriage #thanksgiving