We teach our children from a young age the importance of saying thank you and sometimes following our own lesson can do a lot to strengthen our relationship with our spouse. In life and in marriage there’s a lot to get done on a daily basis.
When counseling couples in busy phases of life I often see feelings of resentment over who is doing, or not doing, what around the house. One person wishes the other cleaned more, or helped with the kids during bedtime, or understood the work pressures they face. Whatever the specific issues are the common theme is that both partners are feeling unappreciated for what they do. While the division of labor might need to change it is not the problem. Unappreciation is the problem, and gratitude is the solution.
My advice to couples is to make an intentional effort to say “thank you” as much as you possibly can for every little thing you see them do. This might feel silly but it will inject much needed positivity into your relationship.
When we choose to say “thank you” we are drawing our attention to what our spouse does right rather than what they do wrong. We realize they are doing more for our family than we thought, and it begins to change the story in our head about the relationship.
When our partner says “thank you” we feel good toward them. We see that they have the capacity to be kind and we feel seen for what we do for the family. The more we hear “thank you” the more we start to believe that we are appreciated and this helps keep resentments from growing.
The Bible tells us “In all things, give thanks.” This is to remind us of the goodness of God and to foster gratitude toward him. Recognizing His goodness changes our relationship with God in profound ways. In the same way gratitude with those we love will remind us of their goodness and change the way we relate to them for the better.
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