When I see couples for therapy, one of the first things I notice is that they are no longer full of gratitude. They are in a place where they take each other for granted. They no longer see the benefits that the other brings, and they are stuck in a negative feedback loop. It can be sad to witness when a couple is so set in only seeing the negative that they start to put each other down and criticize. Let’s be honest, most of us have gone through this at some point in the life of our relationship.
How do we create a home full of gratitude when we can’t stand to be around each other? It’s going to seem odd what I am going to suggest so let me explain. When we get stuck in that negative feedback loop, we need to break out of it. The best way to do this is to do or think the opposite way we do in that moment. Have you heard the phrase “fake it till you make it”? It does work!
Make a List
Take a moment and think about what your partner does you do not like. It’s probably easy to make a laundry list. Now think about what you do like, appreciate, or notice that they are improving on. This one may be harder, so let me give you some suggestions:
- “I like that she takes time to ask how my day was.”
- “He helps make the money we use to live in this home.”
- “It’s awesome when she lets me sleep in on the weekends.”
- “I am grateful he will watch my favorite show with me, even though he hates it!”
These may seem to some of us like obvious things our partner should be doing, but they are also things not to be taken for granted.
Be the Change
What work do you do in your home or for your family that you feel like is taken for granted? Laundry? Making meals? Going to work all day? Cleaning up the Legos for the gazillionth time? Now imagine if your partner and your kids started saying “thank you” more often. Imagine what a home full of gratitude would actually feel like for you. Pretty good feeling isn’t it?
Ready for the challenge? You can be the start of changing your home into that space, but it begins with you recognizing and not taking for granted what others do in the home…even down to the smallest detail. This is a challenge because we often think our family members should start with having more gratitude, not us. Truth be told, it doesn’t matter who starts it but someone needs to.
Be Full of Gratitude
Take meals together as a time to go around and share what you are grateful for. Say “thank you” and “I really appreciate that” (and mean it when you say it). Take a moment to look at the other family member in the eyes and tell them how much you are grateful for them being a part of your family. All of these ideas create a home full of gratitude.
Maybe it feels like a big challenge I am asking you to do, or maybe reading this was the push you needed to start implementing a gratitude practice in your home. Either way, I promise you will not regret the impact being grateful will have on you and on others. Share below how you are working on creating a home full of gratitude.