5 Ways to Uplift Your Man and Create a Marriage Overflowing with Gratitude

BY: - 22 Nov '16 | Marriage

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Last week, my mom had a seizure. It was a stressful experience for her. She has multiple health issues, and developing epilepsy after a stroke she suffered three years ago is one of them. Whenever she has a challenging day, it unfortunately turns into a challenging week and sometimes a challenging month.

It’s hard for me to watch because she is my mom, and I want the best for her. I want her to be happy. But with each passing day, I see that finding joy and experiencing gratitude is becoming increasingly difficult for her. She has been through so much that she is losing sight of what it means to be grateful. I know this is not what she wants for her life, but I also know that we can all become consumed with what we don’t want if we aren’t careful. Gratitude can escape us with such ease when we hit hard times.

My experiences with my mom often make me focus on my own life. When I watch her suffer and I see the condition of her spirit, I reflect on my marriage and my relationships with my children. I think about what I want for our lives and about what can happen if we are not very intentional about the choices we make. I fear what might happen if any of us lose our ability to be grateful.

I have a good marriage. It’s not perfect because no marriage is, but what we have works very well. We love each other, and we adore this life we have built together. I don’t think we arrived at this place by happenstance. I think we worked hard at focusing on gratitude and building our spiritual muscle for times of misfortune.

As we approach what many refer to as the most wonderful time of the year, our focus tends to shift to the importance of gratitude. But I think we all know that gratitude is something we need to focus on year-round.

Here are five ways you can create a marriage overflowing with gratitude, not just during the holidays but every day of the year.

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Adjust your expectations

Unreasonable expectations are behind many marital problems. When you expect more from your spouse than you should, disappointment sets in and gratitude begins to fade. Ask yourself if you are expecting too much rather than being grateful for what you have. You shouldn’t settle, but if you married a good man, don’t spend your time focusing on the 20 percent he might be missing. Instead, give God thanks for the 80 percent he has.

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Show appreciation for everything

We all want to be appreciated. I don’t care how old you are or how long you’ve been married, appreciation is critical. Do you appreciate your spouse? And if you do, do you show that appreciation consistently. Don’t just show appreciation for the big things. Let your spouse know that you are grateful for all the little things he does. From taking out the trash to picking up dinner, every gesture should be recognized and gratitude should be expressed.

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Speak with kindness

Having a bad day? It’s okay because we all have bad days. But when your bad days become the norm and you start speaking to your spouse with a tone that’s less than kind, it’s a problem. Your words are powerful. When you speak with love and understanding, it helps you and your spouse focus on what you have to be grateful about. Bad days don’t give you the right to treat the people who love you poorly. Even when you just can’t bring yourself to express your feelings, let your spouse know that’s where you stand, and he will appreciate your honestly more than you know.

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Acknowledge your spouse’s struggles

If you can learn how to show empathy, it will help your marriage grow stronger by the day. You have to be able to stop focusing on your problems and think about what your spouse is experiencing. What does it feel like to be in his shoes? When you think about what other people are going through, you become more grateful for what you have and you start to think of things you can do to help improve their lives. If empathy is the cornerstone of your relationship, gratitude will surely overflow.

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Document the positive

So many of us keep a mental Rolodex of all the things our spouses do wrong or what’s wrong with our lives. But wouldn’t it be nice if instead we kept track of what they do right and what’s going right? No one is perfect, and focusing on someone’s flaws is no way to build a healthy relationship. Whether you write in a journal or you’re keeping track mentally, do your best to document what your spouse does right and what you love most about your life together. Unless the negative far outweighs the positive, you really can shift your mindset and focus on the positive.

BMWK family, what do you do to create gratitude in your marriage?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 496 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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Help! My Marriage is in Trouble, and I Think My Mother is to Blame

BY: - 22 Nov '16 | Marriage

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Article on BlackandMarriedWithKids.com

Dear Dr. Buckingham,

My 10-year marriage is on the rocks, and I’m starting to believe that my mother is the cause.

I grew up watching my mother being aggressive toward my father. She often told him what to do, and he did not push back. He was not good with expressing his emotions unless he was angry. I believe he took her stuff and just focused on being a great provider.

By the time I was 9 years old, I was aware of the dysfunction and remember telling myself that I would not engage in the same behavior as my mother.

Fast forward 20 years, and I have become my mother. I talk down to my husband and constantly tell him that he is a weak man because he does not push back. Lately, I have started to question my ability to achieve marital satisfaction. I hate to say it, but I believe that I got it from my mother.

Is this all on me? Or do you think childhood experiences and my mother’s example have shaped  how I experience my own marriage?

Patiently awaiting your response,

Wife in Pain

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Dear Wife in Pain,

Yes, it is true that childhood experiences can shape adult behavior. Decades of research have shown that childhood experiences can affect children throughout their adolescence, extending into their adulthoods.

Families have a profound impact on children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. Children are initiated into cultural practice through the parent-child relationship. How children view themselves and their capabilities are grounded in the parent-child relationship, and parents clearly teach critical attitudes and practices that serve to reproduce a habitual referential stance for the child’s emerging mind.

Children typically display the behavior of the same-gender parent by the time they are 5 or 6 years old and use gender to select behaviors to use in their own social relationships. It is reasonable to except that little girls are more likely to model behavior similar to that of their mothers and little boys are more likely to model behavior that is similar to that of their fathers.The parent-child relationship can serve as a significant predictor of personal happiness in adulthood.

Early works on child development reported that childhood nurturing experiences play an instrumental role in shaping and influencing the perceptions and behavior of adults. Many of the childhood experiences that adults experienced as children often serve as cognitive and social guideposts for them as they transition into adulthood. With this in mind, one could assume that childhood experiences can potentially impact your ability to achieve marital satisfaction.

You can learn more about this issue from reading my book entitled, “Can Black Women Achieve Marital Satisfaction.” The book is a little academy in nature and provides insight about groundbreaking research that explored how black women’s childhood experiences impacted their perceptions of achieving marital satisfaction.

My book takes a look into the lives of seven black women who shared their heartfelt childhood and adult experiences as married women. It provides descriptive details about how childhood experiences and socio-structural factors work together to influence Black women’s development and behavior. You can secure a copy by visiting my website at www.drbuckingham.com

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to askdrbuckingham@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 195 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at www.DrBuckingham.com.

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