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gratitude

Recharge Your Relationship

Everyday, most people, especially young people, are constantly on electronic devices, phones, ipads, computers and a myriad of others. These devices all have batteries and usually give a warning when the battery is running low and they must be plugged in or they will die. Similarly our relationships require recharging if they are to have a long life. Is your relationship running on reserve power? Is it limping along and near the breaking point? Is it time to recharge your relationship? Your phone or computer are not very useful or fun when they are dead.

Relationships are extremely stressful when they are dying. If your partner has tried to communicate to you that there is something missing in your relationship, then you want to pay attention. This important information is indicating that your relationship could benefit from recharging. And just as the reminders to recharge your phone will run out and your phone will die. Your partner will at some point give up asking for what they need and your relationship may end.

Although it can be tempting for those who want to avoid conflict to deny, ignore or put their heads in the sand, when relationship problems begin, this approach generally leads to further relationship deterioration. Many hope that if they just carry on somehow things will resolve themselves, but this usually ends in frustration and disappoint.

When was the last time you recharged your relationship battery? Recharging your relationship is not quite as simple as plugging a cord into the wall, but it is relatively easy. However unlike electronic devices which you run until they warn you to charge them, relationships respond best when you form habits of recharging regularly.

Consistently making your relationship a priority and creating time for each other may be the most important way to put life back in your relationship. Go on a date at least once a week, talk to each other everyday about more than the kids or what needs to be done and most of all smile at each other. Practice focusing on what is great about your relationship and about your partner, rather than nit picking at each other's faults. Expressing gratitude and acceptance are also great ways to recharge your relationship.

Each time you plug in your computer, phone or other electronic device, let it remind you to also put your time and effort into recharging your relationship.

Shake It Off and Step Up

We can learn a valuable lesson from the following parable. The art of looking for the silver lining can help us keep a balanced perspective and avoid the pity parties of life. Gratitude is a powerful life enhancer. When we can be grateful especially for our challenges and trials, we can avoid becoming bitter and resentful. Feeling and expressing gratitude helps us discover creative solutions to our problems and improve our relationships.

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving.

Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back... a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back... HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!

This he did, blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself.

No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him... all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT'S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity... THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US! Remember that FORGIVENESS-FAITH-PRAYER-PRAISE and HOPE... all are excellent ways to "SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP" out of the wells in which we find ourselves!

--- Author Unknown

Increase Happiness: Improve Your Relationship

There may be a bit of a chicken an egg dilemma here. Does improving your relationship improve your happiness or does improving your happiness improve your relationship? The answer is yes! Both are true. When you are happier your relationship tends to improve and improving your relationship makes it easier to feel happy. Healthy relationships are key to lasting happiness. Where to begin? The easiest place to begin is to SMILE. Right now, choose to smile, even if you do not feel like smiling. When you choose to smile, your brain starts to take that as a signal that you are happy. Make an effort to smile often, every day and you may notice that you start to feel happier.

Next, express your admiration and affection to your partner. Start trying to catch your partner doing something right. Let them know that you notice and appreciate it. Give your partner at least two genuine compliment a day. When you start to do this, you may notice that your partner starts to smile more too.

Finally, practice gratitude. Every morning when you wake up mentally rehearse as least five things for which you are grateful. Every night just before sleeping focus again on those things for which you are grateful. Remember that happiness does not come from having what we want; it comes from being grateful for what we have.

The happier you are, the more likely you are to have a happy, lasting relationship. The happier you are, the more likely you are to have great friends and family and to feel satisfied with your family and social life. Start now by choosing to smile. Start looking for reasons to be happy and you will begin to find them.

Gratitude Experiment

Happy couples tend to express gratitude for each other and gratitude for being together. How are you doing in this department? Do you feel lucky to be together? Focusing on the things that you are grateful for about your partner and about your relationship adds positive energy to your relationship. Make a conscious effort to spend more time talking about the good things in your relationship. Try to eliminate complaining about your problems. Complaining does not solve problems. Smile at each other, look each other in the eye and share with each other the reasons that you feel blessed to be together.

Happy Couple

As an experiment try the following: Each morning when you first wake up, mentally list and picture in your mind at least five things that you are grateful about your partner and your relationship. Each night before you sleep, do the same. Invite that feeling of gratitude each morning and night for at least 30 days. Pay attention and notice how you feel when you are visualizing and making your gratitude list. Notice how you feel during the day. Notice how you interact with your partner.

The beauty of an experiment is that you cannot fail. The purpose of an experiment is to gather information. What do you learn from completing this experiment? Is this something worth continuing?

Susan Derry, B.Ed., M.S.Psy., R.P.C.

Professional Counselor & Life Coach

Co-author of Marriage Prep: Beginnings a downloadable marriage preparation course

Co-author of Intimate Sex: Manual for Lovemaking, a sex manual for couples

Offers a free Nurturing Marriage Ezine