In the spirit of a long Thanksgiving weekend, I couldn’t help but talk about thankfulness for the Cheers post today, and how it applies specifically to our marriages. Is anything sexier than a spouse who gratefully acknowledges your efforts regularly-not just on the holidays when you perform Herculean accomplishments around the house, wielding culinary skills Martha Stewart herself would sit back, and marvel at?

Gratitude for our spouses, no more than that… expressing gratitude for our spouses is like breathing oxygen into our relationships. It is a habit that should be developed. Not only will it be life-giving to them, but it will be life-giving to ourselves and our relationships. On the flip side, if I, you, we, spend time ruminating on things about our spouses that perhaps drive us a little nuts, is that going to make me, you, and us feel good?  Or will our anxiety, frustration, anger, discontent, and disappointment just build and build?  Our cortisol levels will rise. And with elevated cortisol, it can’t help but come out of us. We will snap. We will either take it out on ourselves (soothing ourselves with unhealthy amounts and kinds of food-for instance, of course, I have never done this, lol), or we will disengage from the relationship/life by spending too much time on social media getting our hits of dopamine instead of engaging in the messiness of real life with our spouses. Investing.

So what are the ways we can show them we are grateful?  

Here are 3 practices:

  1. Ruminate on what he/she does that is excellent, praiseworthy, or good.  We are either focusing on what is good, or what is bad. There is no neutral here. What we focus on, grows. The urge to merge doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You want to be near, serve and spend time with the one you value, find attractive, and adore. Think about these things, whatever is praiseworthy, whatever is good, whatever is lovely or of good report. We think before we do, so we want to be intentional in how we think, what, and who we focus on. Have eyes only for your spouse. Nothing is sexier or more secure than exclusivity in your relationship.  
  2. Serve your spouse – go out of your way to do things for him/her. Do little things every day in the mundane. Maybe you help with things that they normally do around the house. Errands, grocery shopping, laundry, putting away dishes, cooking… it all needs to get done. Serving your spouse, and going above and beyond your divided duties speaks volumes to your valuing them.
  3. Elevate them with words. Genuinely and regularly compliment and thank him on how he does what he does… yes, even the little daily things that seem insignificant. Tell him you respect him.

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