How to cultivate gratitude in your marriage this holiday season.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

The holiday season and particularly Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to take stock in your marriage.  These few weeks from Thanksgiving to New Years can get really crazy, it’s also a wonderful time to cultivate gratitude in your marriage and make sure your relationship is getting a piece of the pie! Gratitude is more than just being thankful for something you have.  It is a state of being that can bring more love, positivity and peace and health into your life. Gratitude is an intentional act, gratitude in your marriage as in all things opens the door to deeper and more fulfilling relationship and holiday season.

gratitude in your marriage

Gratitude is the antidote to desire.  How is it that as a culture we have created the story that Thursday is the day to slow down, celebrate all that we already have and experience gratitude. Then comes black Friday where we are encouraged to hurry up, get to the store and compete with each other to satisfy our never ending need for things. Cultivating true gratitude will alleviate the need for the latest, greatest, cheapest goods and will allow love, respect and joy to be elevated in your marriage and beyond.

Here are a few ways to keep the focus on gratitude and kindness this holiday season…

Celebrate each other.  Rather than keeping a running list of all the things that drive you crazy about your spouse write a list of all the wonderful characteristics your spouse possesses.  Keep your mind focused each day on looking for the good in each other.

Practice kindness. Holiday’s can be stressful for so many reasons.  Family dynamics, money, pressures to be or do something are often the driving forces of our experience. Instead focus on the inward experience of gratitude. When you see your spouse experiencing stress, rather than saying “oh, there s/he goes again with…” stop for a moment and ask how you can support each other. Be grateful for a partnership that allows for a range of emotions and be each other’s support when your spouse gets swept up in the madness.

Ask each other good questions.  Try to avoid making assumptions about what makes a holiday special for each other.  Instead ask.  How and what questions are incredibly helpful tools to learn something from your spouse without conflict. Taking time to take stock in what makes a meaningful experience for each of you will open the door to a richer experience. Here a few suggestions…

What would make this holiday season meaningful for you?

What traditions or experiences are most important to you?

What is your favorite thing about the holidays?

What are you grateful for?

How can we celebrate each other?

How can we incorporate our family obligations into our experience?

Expressing gratitude is a path to move beyond the desires of the self.  The holiday’s are a time to think of others.  Share generosity and cultivate gratefulness. Give gifts to celebrate each other.  Too often the focus on giving gives way to desire and wishing for more.  Gratitude is powerful exercise to tamper feelings of desire and remind ourselves that is things aren’t always going to go our way. Looking for the good in all situations is a gift you can give yourself and others. It is no secret that the experience of giving far outweighs the experience of receiving.  Gift the gift of gratitude to yourself, your spouse and your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

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