23 years. Yes, Leslie and I have been married today for about 23 years. In honor of our Anniversary, I want to tell you something that I have learned over the last two decades, besides how amazing my wife truly is 🙂
Well, when we were newly-weds, I was under the impression that the number one quality that kept people married was commitment.
Trust me, I believed in love, but I also believed that the warmth and excitement of love would ebb and flow over time. I think any of you that have been married longer than two weeks understand what I am getting at.
But, my view has transitioned over the last couple of decades.
Commitment is important.
Capacity to love is really important.
But, I have now come to the realization that gratitude for each other is the most powerful factor in a marriage.
That might seem crazy to you, but so many people underestimate and diminish the power of thanksgiving.
Matter of fact, I believe that gratitude is the foundation for everything that is good in this world.
Joy starts with gratitude.
Generosity starts in gratitude.
Good parenting starts in being grateful for your kids.
Yes, even a good cup of coffee starts with gratitude.
Gratitude is not simply a response when someone does something nice for you or gives you a gift. It is way beyond please and thank you. Gratitude is a posture and approach to your days. (Eph. 5:20)
But, gratitude does not come natural to humans. It is a habit! Gratitude is like a muscle or reflex that must be built up. A person does not simply fall into gratitude.
And, how do you build up gratitude? You rehearse gratitude. You make lists and state to yourself what you are grateful for and why.
Answer this question…Why are you grateful for your husband or wife? Can you answer that question?? Be specific and detailed.
There is a synonym for gratitude which is appreciation. Appreciation means gratitude, but it also has this additional added layer that means to increase in value.
That increased value develops into sharing and multiplication of joy and all kinds of other joy inducing responses.
Lets go through this scenario…how hard is it to love someone that you are not grateful for?? Actually, when you start in gratitude for someone, love comes quite easy. Gratitude generates love.
And, the person that you are grateful for knows it. They feel the gratitude even if it is not expressed in voice. They know that they have value to you. And, when they sense that value they blossom.
And, this is how gratitude has made its way into this email. The more grateful you are; the more you love; and the more appreciation.
Think about that,…when you look at your husband or wife, are you grateful?? That gratitude fertilizes love, and powers joy, respect, generosity, and value.
It all starts with gratitude. I have so much to say about the importance of gratitude in our relationships and the way we conduct our lives. But, honestly, a single email is not an adequate venue to expand on this subject.
I want to tell you about a “tool” I created because of how deeply important I feel gratitude is for families. It is meant to exercise that gratitude muscle.
I have created a journal that uses the Psalms to draw out gratitude. I believe this little journal will develop a heart of gratitude in those that go through it start to finish. It takes 40 days. That is the commitment it takes to develop a transformative heart of gratitude. You can check it out here (www.transformjournals.com).
Leslie and I are headed off for a little while in celebration of our 23rd Anniversary. We are going to spend a little time being grateful for each other :), and we will be back on Tuesday. We will see everyone in Texas starting on Thursday.