Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tips for a Happy Marriage--#5: Be Thankful

I've always told people who were getting married that my second-best piece of marriage advice is to remember why you are marrying your spouse, because the things you love right now will one day annoy you to no end. You love that he's spontaneous, but a few years from now it will drive you crazy that he leaves everything till the last minute. You love that she always looks so put-together, but a few years from now you will wish she weren't quite so particular about what the kids are wearing. You love that he is a man's man, but someday you'll wish he didn't spend quite so much time at the gym. You love that she is so warm and compassionate, but you will someday wish she didn't invite people over quite so often.

You see, every positive trait has a negative side. And most negative traits have a positive side. The problem is, we often focus on the negative side because it is inconvenient to us, but we ignore the positive. But you can't have one without the other. You can't be spontaneous at all the times your spouse wants spontaneity but stifle that trait at the exact times they want you to plan ahead. It doesn't work that way.

So here's marriage tip #5--be thankful for everything you can be thankful about in your spouse. You can start by looking back at all the reasons you married them. Write those things down, or tell your spouse all the things you love about them. And then look at the things that are irritating you about your spouse, and find the positive side of those traits. You wish she didn't plan ahead so much? Be thankful that she's so good at budgeting--which requires planning ahead. You wish he didn't work such long hours? Be thankful that he is a hard worker and that he provides for you. Find something to be thankful for, and express it in some way, either in a journal as a reminder to yourself or out loud to your spouse or on a nice Valentine's Day card.

The more you focus on those things you can be thankful for, the less the negatives will bother you. And the happier you'll both be, because your spouse will feel loved and appreciated and you will realize all over again how wonderful they are.

And since it's Valentine's Day and I love my husband, here's a picture of him. If you don't know him, you're missing out, because he's pretty great. I'm so thankful for all the things that make him who he is, and I'm thankful that he chose me. I am truly blessed.

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