We are six weeks away from our Thanksgiving holiday. These six weeks could change your life and your marriage forever! But first a little history…
Every school play reenacts the first harvest celebration in 1621. More than 200 years later, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving to be a holiday. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set the date by signing a bill in 1941. It declared Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
Most major religions encourage a spiritual practice of gratitude. One of the first verses I learned from the Bible was, “In everything give thanks.” (Ephesians 5:20.) I confess that there have been times when I’ve asked, “Everything, God? Really? Everything?”
During a particularly challenging time in my life, I began practicing gratitude as a spiritual commitment. Being thankful for everything really did transform my attitude, and eventually the circumstances.
When new challenges come, the habit of being thankful (sometimes through gritted teeth!) reminds me that I don’t yet know the end of the story. Circumstances change. And they’re more apt to change in my favor if I keep my heart open by practicing gratitude. Fear and discontent close my heart and my circumstances to happy surprises.
In this post and in the next five weeks, I’m issuing a challenge. Each week I’ll be challenging you to focus on one area of your life where it may be hard to be grateful.
Are you up for it? What have you got to lose?
Since I am a relationship coach, my first challenge to you is to be grateful for your partner. DECIDE that you will spend the next week looking for qualities, actions, and gestures for which you can express gratitude…not just in your heart, but face to face!
Examples: “Thank you for being so consistent about helping out with the kids’ bedtime.” Or, “I appreciate that you let me know that you might be home late.” Or, “I love that you are so conscientious about getting our bills paid on time.”
Now these may not fit. But you get what I mean. Work this! Dig if you have to! But find things you appreciate about your spouse!
Because….whatever we focus on, increases. When you only deliver complaints, pretty soon, all you see are things you want to change. When you focus on things for which you can genuinely be thankful, the irritations shrink as they are more than balanced out by things that are good.
Are you ready to try Radical Gratitude? I challenge you to say, “Thank you for…” or “I appreciate….” or “I’m grateful for…” whenever your mind starts to dwell on a problem or dissatisfaction with your partner. Each week I invite you to share what this Radical Gratitude Challenge has done for your heart and your relationship. And I’ll share my experiences with you! If you are accepting this challenge, leave a comment below.