I’ve caught myself doing this more than once.
In the everyday course of living out my married life, there are times when I’ll find a quirk or problem that gets under my skin.
(I’m sure this never happens to my husband!)
And with my time and attention, it starts to loom a little too large for it’s own good. The problem comes into sharp focus, and the other 16 joyful years of marriage suddenly take off and disappear into another room.
Does that ever happen to you?
This is where unpacking the power of appreciation comes into play.
I’m definitely not saying that our marriage problems should be ignored!
But I believe that placing our problems next to a bouquet of appreciation can make a big difference in the outcome of those problems.
Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
First, we’ll want to start to regularly use our muscles of appreciation. We want to look for things to appreciate, and bring them into focus.
For example, you might keep an appreciation journal where you actually write down the things you appreciate that day about your spouse.
Thinking and speaking of our spouses with appreciation may start off as an effort. But an effort can soon become a habit. And a habit can become a reflex.
As we get used to being in “appreciation mode”, three things emerge that make us more successful in the middle of conflict:
We are just nicer to talk to. The edges of anger and unforgiveness get taken off when we are used to first being appreciative.
Mentally, we are re-training. We don’t tend to think of our spouses in black or white. If there is conflict at hand, we also have an easily accessible source of “good” to mix in with the problems we’re trying to deal with. In other words, we see a more balanced view of our spouses and our marriages. We can better see the big picture.
We’re in step with God’s marching orders. And that’s always a good thing! Phillipians 4:8 tells us: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
In other words, in the middle of conflict, you can have a river of God’s peace flowing within you. This makes it likely that you will be more calm, level-headed and loving when dealing with the problem at hand.
Appreciation is a simple and easy way we can bring greater satisfaction and harmony into our marriages, every day.
And best of all, it’s free!
Question: What do you do to build your sense of appreciation for your spouse? Have you told your spouse why you appreciate them today?
* * *
The best way we learn is from each other. You have a unique wisdom and insight that can truly bless others! So jump in and add your voice. I love to read what you share.
Dr. Ann is a Christian M.D., wife to her wonderful husband, and mom to a terrific gang of three. At The Marriage Checklist Ann blogs about marriage, motherhood, and more! She is syndicated on Crosswalk.com, and has been featured onBlogHer.com, MichaelHyatt.com, Fox news, and Good Morning America.
You can read more from Dr. Ann at TheMarriageChecklist.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
For the easiest way to get her latest posts, sign-up here and get them sent directly to your email inbox.
Are you ready then? Let’s go!
Copyright Dr. Ann 2012
(photo credit: digitalart)