Be Thankful

I enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving. Doesn’t it seem odd, though, that we designate only one day per year to recognize all we have to be thankful for? One day just doesn’t seem to be nearly enough

In regards to marriage, having a thankful attitude can make a huge difference. As I often say,  your mate will get on your nerves once in a while. It’s not a question of if, but of when. At those moments you tend to focus on his or her negative features, and they are certainly valid. But lest you think it is only your mate who can be difficult at times may I suggest you find the nearest mirror and spend some time there?

Those times when your mate is disagreeable, and perhaps hostile, are likely when he or she most needs a hug. I realize it is difficult to hug a cactus, but you might just want to give it a try.

It’s also a good idea to balance the negatives with an honest appraisal of the positives. Your wife or husband has qualities which once attracted you to her or him and chances are those qualities are still very much present. It could be that you have stopped looking for them or have become blind to them for various reasons.

So much of marriage, of life itself, is about perspectives. How you choose to look at another individual or a situation, will greatly impact how you feel and what responses you choose to make. An “attitude of gratitude,” while having become a bit of a cliché, is still a wonderful ingredient in a healthy marriage.

May I suggest you take some time today and make a list of your mate’s top qualities? Depending on the state of your marriage this might take some time and effort. For too many marriages it has become far easier to list the other’s negative qualities than the positive.

So let me increase the challenge a bit. Would you consider taking a few moments at the start of each day and writing down five to ten attributes which you appreciate in your spouse? I promise this won’t take very long if you can do it objectively. Is she pretty? Is he strong? By the way, the odds are that she and he don’t think they are, but that’s a matter for a whole other column. Are they intelligent? Careful how you answer this one as they were smart enough to marry you.

I’m reminded of the argument when a husband blurted out in anger “I was a fool when I married you” to which the wife calmly replied: “I suppose you were dear, but at the time I was too much in love with you to notice.”

By my count that is likely the 30th bad joke I have shared with you over the past few months, but keep reading anyway. How much worse can they get?

While I’m on the subject of humor and laugher, I am of the opinion that more is just about always better. The only caveat is when men try to be funny to diffuse the strained emotions in their wife. But, that too, is a matter for an entire column of its own.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, laughter is a great medicine. It helps us get along better in all of our relationships, including, if not especially, marriage. It is so easy to get caught up in the pressures and disappointments in life that we don’t take the time just to laugh and enjoy each other’s company. I am so thankful for a wife who still thinks I’m funny and who can make me laugh.

I’m thankful for lots of reasons, and my hunch is that you can and should be as well. I’m thankful that I am today officially beginning my 7th month of writing this weekly post and so thankful for the many gracious comments I have received from so many of you.

Thank you to those of you who have shared your comments on what makes for a good marriage. I am always on the lookout for more. In fact, I have a couple of comments from readers, but not yet enough for a column. So please take a moment or two and consider helping me help our community by sharing lessons you have learned over the years. I’m looking for suggestions both of what to do in a marriage and what not to do in a marriage. Let us learn from your successes and your failures.

So let me close by encouraging you to look for the good in your life and in your marriage and to be genuinely thankful. Let me encourage you to take some time in the coming weeks to laugh together, be joyful, and grateful for all that you have. I submit that it is often easier than you might think and the benefits are out of this world.

(ps: if your marriage is not working as well as you would like please consider improving it before you consider ending it. Help and happiness really are available to you if you know where to look.)

Ron Price is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Four Corners Coalition for Marriage & Family, a 501-C-3 organization dedicated to strengthening and equipping marriages and families in the Four Corners Area. He can be reached at ronp@fccmf.org or 505 327-7870.