Do you celebrate victories in your marriage? It's so easy not to, but it is healthy for the relationship. (Click on the title to read more.)
God seems to encourage celebrations. If you look at the Old Testament, you’ll see that God set up a number of feasts and celebrations throughout the year, usually to remember a major event or to honor God. Could there be something important about celebrating? I think there is, especially in marriage.
The longer someone is married, the easier it is to complain, criticize, compare, and focus on what’s not happening instead of what is. When this continues, eventually we only see the negative because we’ve unintentionally trained our minds to look for it…we are focused on it. It leads to a couple feeling disconnected. That’s why it’s important to celebrate!
The challenge is, that we are used to only celebrating milestones and not the small daily victories. Why? We forget to look for and acknowledge the good in our spouse. The irony is that if we focus on the good, we will see more of it and feel more connected.
In her book, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, Shaunti Feldhahn describes 12 attributes (“secrets”) from her research that are common among happily married couples. Many of them directly or indirectly include some form of appreciation or gratitude for spouses, but the first one speaks to the point:
“Know Little is Big. Why a few small actions carry such surprising power. For nearly every man or woman, the same few, small gender-specific actions not only matter, but have a huge impact on a couple’s level of happiness. But these little actions take on even more power when accompanied by those that matter to your spouse individually.”
Is it time to stop complaining and start celebrating?
Make it a point to look for the small things that your spouse is doing well and affirm (“celebrate”) him/her for them, continually. Pay attention to how that changes how you feel about your spouse, as well as his/her actions and attitudes towards you. Oh, and give it time to see a change. It won’t happen overnight!