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My Goal: Gratitude

My Goal: Gratitude

Resolve to stop taking your spouse for granted
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"Are all married people like this?" my friend asked. She had recently returned from a business trip where a married man made advances toward her, and she had witnessed a married woman making suggestive moves on another man. These were not sleezy people she bumped into on the street, but professionals with put-together lives. As a single person, she was starting to have her doubts about marriage. "Do you ever worry about your husband …" she started asking but trailed off, not wanting to imply that my husband would be anything but upright.

"No, of course not!" I answered immediately. "But," I added slowly, "I don't take him for granted." I've passed that age where every summer consists of a flurry of wedding invitations. The honeymoon period has long gone for me and most of my friends, and divorce and affairs are not just the stuff of tabloids anymore. I've painfully watched as some of my friends I witnessed vow to spend the rest of their lives together have ended up in broken marriages.

But although I don't take my husband for granted, I often find myself acting as if I do. The stresses of life with two young children often lead me to react negatively. I snap at my husband when he doesn't do things exactly the way I think they should be done. I get angry when he doesn't respond immediately to my requests. I nag him. I have a world of patience for my children but nothing left for him.

I made a true statement when I told my friend I didn't take my husband for granted, but why did my actions not match my words? No matter how many times I told myself, "I'm going to be nicer to him tomorrow," I kept failing.

I realized my interactions with my husband consisted mainly of reactions. By definition, reactions happen in an instant, before you have time to think. But while I couldn't change the way I reacted on a daily basis, I could change the way I intentionally acted. I usually spend time planning what I will do each day and scheduling my kids' activities, but I don't spend any time planning how I will interact with my husband. I needed to change this.

Goal-Setting Guidelines

To help myself interact more intentionally with my husband, I implemented some common guidelines often used for setting business goals and New Year's resolutions: I set a daily goal that would be both measurable and attainable.

A measurable goal is something that can be quantified, as opposed to a qualitative goal. For example, I originally made it a goal to "be nicer" to my husband, but that was not something measurable or concrete to work toward. Whether or not I accomplished the goal was completely subjective based on who was evaluating my performance. Instead, an example of a measurable goal would be to compliment him once a day. At the end of the day, I could say that I either did it or didn't do it.

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Related Topics:Goals; Gratitude; Marriage; Strength

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Displaying 1–3 of 8 comments

Innocentia Masetlha

January 05, 2013  1:39am

Thanks so much for the article I just saw myself in it.December holidays are a nightmare to our marriage as I have to take the whole responsibility of the kids,my nanny is away.I feel that is too much and everything my husband does seem wrong and I snap all the time,this brings unhappiness and my husband avoids me by going out and comes back very late,this also makes things worse and we end up not enjoying the best time of family and friends during festive season.I just wanted to kill myself this time around as the kids were too demanding and my husband was not always home because he knew that I will be snapping all the time.

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January 04, 2013  2:46pm

After 16 years of marriage....not a day goes by that my husband and I don't tell each other that we love the other. We also make a point to kiss everyday....not just a peck on the cheek but a passionate kiss. There are times that we both are not in the best of moods but we have to stop and take a step back. We also make it a priority to be in church together and he helps me in my ministry as Children's Pastor. Best wishes everyone!

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September 07, 2012  9:17am

From someone who has been married for 34 years and seen MANY of my friends marriages end, your article is absolutely correct. When we become overwhelmed with our daily routine as moms, your husband is always the last person on your list to get anything from you because he isn't as needy as your children. I found saying I Love You once a day was a good way to do something positive for our marriage. Praying together also made a huge difference for us, even just once a week. When I made an effort to intentionally appreciate my husband more, he reciprocated without even realizing it. You just want to treat someone the way they treat you. Little things can make the biggest difference!

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