Nobody means to take their spouse for granted but sometimes we unfortunately get busy with life and our day-to-day routines that we start forgetting how much we appreciate one another. One of the secrets (and maybe it’s not-so-secret) to helping your marriage thrive over time is to maintain an ongoing sense of appreciation and gratitude for each other. You might like to think about conscious reflection and expression of what you’re grateful for about your spouse as a hedge against taking him or her for granted, which is common among couples who have been together for a long time.
Plus, let’s face it: feeling grateful feels good. So, how can we build more gratitude within our marriage, even (especially), when we face the inevitable marital rough patches?
One effective gratitude tool is journaling. Let’s talk about why journaling is so effective and what you can expect to notice when you start keeping a journal dedicated to documenting your gratitude as it relates to your marriage.
Benefits of Keep a Marriage Gratitude Journal
Gratitude—joyful and thankful recognition of something’s or someone’s value—is a proven proponent of better health, both physically and mentally. Feeling happy in your marriage is invaluable and nurturing to your mind and body.
Research suggests that practicing gratitude (which includes journaling), is associated with lower aggression, better empathy, better sleep, greater self-esteem, a stronger immune system, and plenty more. And the physical act of writing down thoughts of gratitude appears to have an elevating effect on these benefits.
Relationship research from the experts like Dr. John Gottman also suggests that gratitude may also enhance the health of your marriage.
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In our experience, when couples keep a marriage gratitude journal or adopt some other method to regularly reflect on things they’re thankful for about their spouse, they begin to:
- Feel more positive about their relationship overall
- Exhibit more generous and loving behaviors toward each other
- Develop the habit of looking for the positives even in the face of temporary challenges
- Foster a closer sense of connection, mutual respect, and commitment
- Find more acceptance for their spouse and be quicker to offer forgiveness or give up the need to feel “right”
- Notice the “small things” about their spouse that really make them smile
3 Ideas for Keeping a Marriage Gratitude Journal
There’s no downside to trying out a marriage gratitude journal for yourself. There’s also no right or wrong way to do it. To get you inspired and get those grateful feelings flowing, here are three ideas that may help:
- Challenge yourself to jot down three things you’re thankful for about your spouse every day for one week. Think big as well as small. Soon enough, you’ll like to find yourself noticing even seemingly insignificant things about your spouse throughout the day that bring a smile to your face. Enjoy these moments.
- To build a journaling habit, try sitting with your journal at the same time every day, such as first thing in the morning or right before bed.
- Periodically flip through your marriage gratitude journal and reflect on what you’ve written down. Share some of these reflections and memories with your spouse. You may be amazed by how many “little things” you felt grateful for then later forgot about!
Would You Like to Reignite a Sense of Gratitude for Your Spouse?
Imago couples counseling can enhance the sense of gratitude and connection you have with your spouse. Contact us to speak with a marriage counselor or book a free relationship clarity call to help you learn more about what’s going on in your marriage. Want to speak with someone from The Marriage Restoration Project now? Call (443) 645-0630.