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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

experiencing gratitude in your marriage...

The other night, my whole family was all gathered around the dinner table taking part in a scrumptious meal of chicken and potatoes. Among the clinging and clanging of the fork and knives hitting the plate and scooping the food, my youngest son made an announcement. “Hey guys, we forgot to do something.” My oldest shot back, “What’s that?” he said, “We forgot to say two things we were thankful for today!”
After realizing that we were just reminded of the obvious, we all took a break from the great meal, set down our fork and knives, simultaneously took a drink and wiped our mouths with a napkin. My youngest seemed satisfied by our response and the collective attitude of anticipation. He shouted out, “Mom starts.” My wife quickly responded, “Well, let’s see. The first thing I am thankful for today was the opportunity I had to encourage my friend who is going through some marriage problems. And the second thing I am thankful today is now, the time we are enjoying together as a family.”

“You’re next.” All eyes were now fixed on me. Before I expressed what I was thankful for, I looked at my youngest and said, “Do you already know what you’re going to say what you are thankful for?”  He said, “Yup, I already knew what I was going to say even before dinner! I am thankful for a good day at work today and I am thankful for the great meal mom made tonight.” Both my sons agreed with the latter as they gave their mother a satisfying smile. 

My youngest continued the order, “Okay, you’re next,” pointing to his brother. “Well, the first thing I am thankful for today is that I finished my homework and the second thing I am thankful for is the cake and ice cream after dinner tonight!” Both my sons shouted, “Oh yah!” as they enthusiastically high-fived each other.
I looked at my youngest and said, “And last but not least, you’re next. What are the two things you are thankful for today?”My son surprised all of us by his response. He put his cup down, moved away from the dinner table and positioned himself smack dab in the middle of the living room. He stuck out his chest and said, with great pride, “I am not thankful for two things--I am thankful for three things! The first thing is I am thankful for is mommy. The second thing I am thankful for is my daddy. And the third thing I am thankful for is my brother. The only thing I am thankful for is my great family!”  

It was as if time stood still because my youngest thought it, said it and did it with unprecedented intention. We all looked at each other in silence, and with great satisfaction. We then pushed away from the table and gathered around each other and gave a huge, shared hug! The result was an incredible feeling of happiness and a confident sense of togetherness. Most of all, the experience was an amazing confirmation that whenever gratitude is at the forefront of your thoughts and actions, even before it’s your turn, the result will always manifest infectious change in every way. 

Gratitude is a powerful attribute that carries the residual effect of personal fulfillment and an active, inward peace that often goes unexplained. What does a marriage that lives in daily thankfulness look like? More than entering the Thanksgiving season as simply just another holiday, try integrating thankfulness into your marriage and family beyond the day you eat turkey and pumpkin pie.
The true secret to a successful marriage is expressing thankfulness toward each other on a regular basis. The reward is whenever gratitude resides at the forefront of your thoughts, your actions and your being, the guarantee is affirmation that you are moving in the right direction towards the marriage you want to experience. Gratitude always puts you into a positive state of mind which in turn will instigate the change you have been striving for and working towards. The need for evidence and confirmation of fulfillment manifesting in your marriage relationship is discovered in the space of a thankful and grateful life. When you live there, your marriage will always be moving forward in the moment.   
Since the power of gratitude is one of the most effective ways to find and experience an abundant life, what are some practical ways you can implement gratitude into your life today? Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Once you wake up. and before you put your feet on the floor, think and say at least one thing you are planning to be thankful for in the day ahead. (Future)
  • One of the best times to reflect with gratitude is at meal time. Our most anticipated time as a family is described from the story. Implement past reflection in one of your meal times. (Past)

The true power of living in marital gratitude will never fail the wonderful, full relationship you are longing to live. So the next time you are eating dinner gathered around with your family, ask: "What are the two things you are thankful for?" You may be surprised by the things you hear, or the things you never even thought to appreciate before. The gift of gratitude is when you think, feel and live it in every aspect of your life. Living in gratitude is something that will invite you to even find the child in yourself. Go ahead and stick your chest out and express three things you’re grateful for, rather than two. You will feel a sense of pride and satisfaction by breaking the rules!

Rob Lane
Marriage Mechanic

Rob is proud that his wife Cara plays an instrumental part of what he does. They have a combined 20+ years helping individuals and couples with their relationships and marriages. Rob has a BA in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is an Online Psychology Professor for Grand Canyon University. Rob is also certified marriage counselors in the PREPARE/ENRICH program. He is a non-denominational ordained minister and officiates wedding ceremonies. Rob combines his experience and education along with his unique approach that is sincerely relational, empowering, hopeful, honest and compassionate. To learn more about Rob, The Marriage Lane and his approach read here.


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