How Choosing To Be Grateful Makes Our Marriage Happier
I thought I was a happy person... until I get married. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is still the sweetest guy I have ever met after we get married.
He is also the most "imperfect husband" you have ever see. He stayed quiet when I want to discuss something important. He think reading news is much more enjoyable than couple time.
When people said you would never really get to know the person until you get married with them. It is partially true.
The truth is I start to get to know myself much better after I become a wife and a mother.
Just like a lot of people in our society, I used to believe " why should I stay in the marriage if I am not happy anymore". What an accurate reflection in our current individual and self centered society. We all believe our main goal of marriage is to find our personal happiness.
I remember when we went for our marriage preparation retreat, the first word we read is " THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE IS NOT HAPPINESS".
So what is the purpose of us to get married?
After I get into marriage, I realize that it is so true. Because when I focus on my own happiness, I was so disappointed that I think I can end our marriage anytime.
But marriage is not about my own happiness. It is not even about me. Its about being selfless, its about sacrifice and forgiveness.
Its about choosing to give our self again and again. Choosing to forgive instead of respond with anger. Choosing to listen with our heart instead of who is right and wrong.
To be honest, I was disappointed when I realized that marriage is not about taking care my own happiness. And we definitely do not have smooth marriage.
We had the time when both of us lost our job just when we found out that we were expecting a baby. We had a moment when we had to decide if I should be a stay at home mom or continue working after our baby was born.
There are times when we didn’t feel good and happy. When we snap at each other due to exhaustion and sleep deprivation after our baby arrived. Or “I am tired after whole day of work..can I have my me-time”.
Our conversation is not only about what should we plan for week end or which place we want to travel next year anymore. But there are about bills to pay, mortgage to servcice, who should do the house chores. Our marriage from two different cultures with totally opposite family background makes it even worst.
And there are also times to support each other to fulfill our dream which require one of us to sacrifice.
So how to give thanks and be grateful when we don’t even feel happy?
I learn this lesson from my 6 years old daughter when we went to Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia for holiday. When we reached the hotel, she was so happy and excited. Jumping with so much joy and keep telling daddy how lucky she is that daddy book this hotel for us. (I didn't even thank my husband who arrange all this holiday trip for us)
I felt even more embarrassed with myself because instead of feeling happy and thankful, I was quietly complaining about the unclean water from the tab and how small the room was. There is so much to learn from an innocent child who gives thanks to even the air she breathe and the beautiful sky.
I decided to practice gratitude in our life. I started with my gratitude journal. Throughout the day I will look very hard on what I am so thankful for the day. And I will wrote it in my personal journal. Sometime I show it to him during our night prayer.
It turns out that my gratitude list getting longer and longer each day. Our words become more uplifting to each other. We feel happier.
Choosing to focus on good things makes us feel better than focusing on bad things. I though it sounds obvious right? But in reality it is not that easy to do. It required the discipline of mind.
Gratitude brings out the best of each of us. I am more willing to clean the house now that I used to. My husband start to be more cheerful and talkative than he was (he is always a man of few words though).
Well..of course we still have our frustration and anger in our imperfect marriage. But feeling thankful to what we have done for each other make us realize that marriage is about choosing You before me, choosing we before I.
One thing that I really appreciate from my husband is he would thank me either privately, via messages or in person. He will even thank me in public or with our own friends. Instead of trying to talk down about each other, we express our gratitude of our partner in front of our friends, community, our child, our family.
Thank you dear for helping me grow so much as a person, wife and mother. Thank you for your never ending love and support. You have never failed to make me feel as the luckiest girl in the world. Growing old with you is definitely the most privileged blessing I have ever received...and I love you so much.