Tag Archives: gratitude

5 Ways to Foster the Most Important Skill for a Happy Marriage

5 Ways to foster the most important skill for a happy marriage

When I look into my husband’s eyes, I fall deeper in love each and every day.  

Is it because he is without fault?  Of course not.

Is it because he loves me better each day?  Well, that certainly helps.

Is it because I know all there is to know about marriage?  Absolutely not.  

I’m not a marriage expert, I’m an intentional learner.  And it is my intention to learn all I can from those who have succeeded in marriage for decades and decades, and apply it in my own marriage.

One of the most effective lessons I’ve learned over the years is the importance of fostering this incredibly important skill set in our marriage.

It’s fascinating how making this simple attitude adjustment changes the way we view the world and all that is in it, including our marriage and our mates.

Life and parenting coach, Tamazin Heher with ZinHeher.com, shares her top five tips.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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(P.S. Minneapolis Residents: I’m headed your way this Thursday (4/10)! See me on Twin Cities Live at 3pm and then meet me at 7pm. More Info Here.)


When you and I fell in love with our spouses, it’s likely we both adored and admired every little thing about them. 

Do you remember that?  

If you’re anything like me, the many wonderful things that made your husband special always trumped his idiosyncrasies and flaws.

But as with all things, once the newness wears off and time goes on, it’s easy to take the good stuff for granted and to focus more on what we don’t have than what we do.

So how do we turn a “Honey-Do” marriage back into a Honeymoon marriage?

It will likely not come as a surprise to you that research shows fostering an attitude of gratitude may be the single most important skill for a happy marriage.  Of course, there are many other important skills you can foster, but gratitude always remains at -or very close to- the top of the list.  

So if you want to take your marriage from good to great, it may not take much; just an attitude of gratitude adjustment.

5 ways you can make a gratitude adjustment:

1. Nurture fondness and admiration.  Remember the first time you saw your husband doing something he was really good at? It was sexy right? Take the time to pay attention and admire his strengths and his passions. Make a list of these, from the highly skilled tasks to the mundane, and then take time to witness him engaging in these activities. Before long, you’ll become his biggest admirer (again).

2. Be mindful. Chances are you are surrounded by his actions of love, big and small, every day. Practice mindfulness by actively noticing the things he does on a daily basis. Even if the actual frequency of “acts of love” doesn’t increase, you will experience an increase: we see more of what we pay attention to in our lives.

3. Share your gratitude with him. Tell him in the moment, leave him a note, or write him a letter of gratitude. When we express gratitude to our partners we develop trust and respect, and a desire in our partner to reciprocate. Research has found that couples who have ongoing reciprocal appreciation report being more committed and have longer-lasting relationships.

4. Listen.  While expressing gratitude may not come as any surprise, what may not be as intuitive about gratitude is listening. Sacrificing your time to really listen to what he’s saying shows that you value him more than anything else in that moment. So make eye contact, lean in and ignore the text that just came in.

5. Give and you shall receive. When we express gratitude, we’re not only giving something to the receiver, but doing something for ourselves. When we say “thank you” we are also acknowledging “I’m worthy”. People who regularly participate in a gratitude practice report feeling more satisfied, are more optimistic, have fewer health complaints, and are 25% happier than their non-gratitude practicing counter-parts.

Question:  How do you show gratitude to your husband?

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3-Day Challenge: The Perks of Becoming a Complaint-Free Wife

The Perks of Becoming a Complaint-Free Wife

Have you ever sat around listening to a wife complain about all the things wrong in her life and marriage and thought, “You have a great husband?  You have a life others would die for?”

Sometimes, as Cheri Gregory beautiful articulates in this post, complaining can be on auto-pilot.  It was a part of our lives prior to marriage and it just came right on in like an invited guest the moment we said I do.

Complaining is not problem-solving and true problem-solving rarely involves complaining.

Even the happiest among us can fall into the trap of complaining and what we are generally doing in that moment is keeping us from finding the solution our heart desires.

Give this complaint-free challenge a try for 3 days and then come back and let us know how it impacted your life and marriage.  Can’t wait to hear all about it!

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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Every January for the last seven years, I’ve taken the Complaint-Free Challenge: one whole month without complaining. 

Of course, this has not meant ignoring legitimate problems. Will Bowen, author of A Complaint-Free World, makes a clear distinction between complaining and problem-solving. Complaining is making energetic statements focused on the problem at hand rather than the resolution, while problem-solving is speaking directly and only to the person who can resolve the issue.

Complaint-Free: Who Me?

The first time I tried the Complaint-Free Challenge, I discovered how rarely I used true problem-solving techniques. My mouth seemed set on negative auto-pilot. I griped endlessly out of habit rather than choosing my words with care.

To become more aware of my complaining tendencies, I started each day with a purple “Complaint-Free World” bracelet on my left wrist. Each time I caught myself complaining, I changed the band to my other wrist.

I soon became conscious of one specific complaining habit involving my husband.

Every time Daniel came into my home office, I’d stop working and start complaining. This habit was so automatic that the moment I’d hear him walking downstairs, I’d feel irritated and find something wrong to report the moment he walked in.

This is ridiculous! I thought. What’s going on here? Why do I drop what I’m doing and fabricate a complaint whenever Daniel appears?

Finally, after some soul-searching and a good laugh at my own expense, I realized what I was doing:

I was trying to reconnect with my husband. 

We’d been apart for a while, and I was trying to re-engage with him. Of course, the method I was using was counterproductive; my complaints often resulted in disagreements or Daniel retreating in haste.

Once I recognized my true desire, I tried a new approach. I replaced all my complaints with one simple word:


It worked like a charm.

3 Reasons I Aim to be Complaint-Free Wife

1.  I am more pleasant to be with. Daniel stops by to see me far more frequently, and with far less trepidation!

2. I am happier. I’ve found that what I hear, I take to heart. And since I hear myself 24/7, complaining words and thoughts cause a cacophony of “baditude” in my heart. Less complaining has created space for peace, quiet, and contentment.

3. I’m more grateful.  I used to think that I’d get around to gratitude when I didn’t have so much to complain about. When I intentionally quit complaining, I suddenly had time to notice and point out all the good. The more appreciation I expressed, the more I noticed things for which I was grateful. As gratitude became my new default, complaining naturally died off. 

I recognize that going complaint-free isn’t for everyone. But I’ll tell you from experience that each time I take the Complaint-Free Challenge, I become more the happy woman–and happy wife–I most want to be.

A Couple of Complaint-Free Resources:

Ready to try the Complaint-Free Challenge? 31 days is a long commitment…how about starting with just 3! What could you learn about your complaining habits with your husband by choosing to be complaint-free for the next 3?  (Come back on in 3 days and let us know what you discovered!)


JOIN THE 1,000,000 MEMBER CHALLENGE: If you haven’t already done it, what are you waiting for? Join the club! It takes only a few seconds and, of course, is free.

One Simple Idea That Makes Every Marriage Better

One Simple Idea That Makes Every Marriage Better

Love, love, love this idea by HWC contributor, Kim Hall from TooDarnHappy.com.  

For the first three years of this site, I was almost the sole contributor.  Then earlier this year, I invited other happily married writers to join me.

Best. Decision. Ever.  

As I’m traveling the country this week hosting meet-ups with local Happy Wives Club members in 12 cities, it’s wonderful to not only write but to be able to enjoy reading articles like this one that remind us all how important the little things are in marriage.

If you haven’t already done what Kim suggests below, give it a try.  I did something similar earlier this year.  It truly is one simple idea that makes every marriage better.

Enjoy the post and I hope to see you as I continue to travel the country in the weeks ahead.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day! 

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Do you remember those colorful puzzles where you had to find everything that was wrong with the picture?  Maybe the side-by-side pictures in some magazines that ask you to find the differences between the two.

We leave no stone unturned in our search to figure out what is wrong.

Oh, the joy: A misspelled sign, a flying pig, an escalator to nowhere!

There was such a solid sense of satisfaction as you discovered and checked off each error.

But do you remember ever noticing the joy in those images?

Probably not, because you had your internal search engine programmed to find every mistake.

What you pay attention to about your spouse is very similar.

When you focus on your husband’s faults, it distorts the bigger picture and chips away at your relationship.

The solution is simple.

Shift your focus to the good to improve your marriage.

I’m not asking you to ignore issues.

I’m suggesting a different approach.

I want you to focus on being grateful.

Just once a day.

Because gratitude is the spoonful of sugar that helps marriage in the most delightful way. (Tweet that!)

I wrote previously about Darren Hardy’s Thanks-giving Journal.

Following an argument, he decided to write to his wife to let her know how grateful he was for her:

While he struggled at first to look for those blessings, he found his attitude had completely changed to one of deep love and thankfulness once he finished with his message.

Believing he had stumbled onto a great idea, he began a year long project.

Every day, he would spend a few minutes noting just one thing about his wife that he admired, adored, or enjoyed, and wrote it down.

At the end of the year, he gave his wife this Thanks-giving Journal.

She cried and said it was the best gift ever.

What happened?

He was paying attention to the good, to the woman he fell in love with so long ago.

He detailed for her how she mattered, both to him and others.

Not only did it change his daily focus, but it improved the quality of his marriage.

Look for reasons to express your gratitude towards your spouse.

I encourage you to write it down daily, because gratitude is a matter of practice.

Say it out loud, too, with words like thank you, I appreciate that, I am so grateful when you do that!

You just might re-discover more to love about your other half, improve your marriage, be happier, and give the most amazing gift to your husband (and yourself)!

Question: How often do you let your husband know you are grateful for him?

May you find happiness wherever you are! Kim at Too Darn Happy


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