Having gratitude indicates a readiness to express appreciation for and to return kindness, and a gratitude toward someone means respecting and appreciating the value of the person. That’s why, being appreciative and thankful for each other is essential in building a healthy marriage.

Often times, couples unknowingly transit from the honeymoon stage of expressive appreciation to taking each other for granted. By focusing on the things about your spouse that annoy you, you might have become oblivious to the uniqueness and things your spouse has done for you.

One sure way to break free from the doldrums is to make expressions of gratitude a way of life in your marriage. Only then can couples work towards re-building the respect and trust in your relationships.

Instead of waiting for your spouse to make you feel good, why not take the initiative to jumpstart the whole gratitude cycle?

One brilliant way to do so is by gifting your spouse with a birthday gift of gratitude. Starting from a month (or even earlier if you prefer) prior to their birthday, begin compiling a daily journal of an appreciation of their special qualities and characteristics, and the wonderful things they have done.

For example, “You never fail to support me in whatever task I undertake”, “You’re the kindest person I’ve ever known”, “You took the initiative to do the laundry so that I could get some rest”, etc.

Get creative in how this gratitude list can be presented. You can consider having the list bound as a booklet, or rolled up and inserted in a bottle. Regardless of the presentation, this is definitely one birthday gift that would mean so much to your spouse. Reading, and knowing, your heart-warming thoughts will assure them of their importance in your life.

Moreover, compiling this gratitude list creates an awareness that the little things or actions that you might have taken for granted or see as ordinary are actually special and praiseworthy.

Gratitude is a skill that can be cultivated and nurtured to strengthen your marriage, so don’t just stop here.