Praise of and Thanksgiving to One Another
Points for consideration:
- Criticism easily enters into a married relationship as a couple get used to being together fulltime. The failings of each other become more obvious because the couple are closer to the effects of these on themselves. But there can be a lot of cruelty involved in this criticism in the ways a husband/wife talk to each other and how they talk about each other to others. When things are wrong it is important to talk them out and to fight them out if necessary – and sometimes this is necessary. Dirty fighting though should have no place in a marriage relationship. Constructive fighting should include the following elements:
- There should be no past history. This fight is in the present and should be kept there.
- There should be no name calling.
- There should be no third parties introduced to the fight.
- Stick to the subject of the present fight and don’t introduce other issues just because you are on a roll.
- Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Sort out whatever is dividing you no matter how long this takes.
- Have a sense of proportion about the issue and develop a sense of humour about yourselves.
- Hold hands, as touch is part of your communication of love with one another.
- Praise and affirmation are very essential qualities to develop in a marriage if it is to be a happy and a healthy place to live. This may mean consciously and deliberately seeking out and noticing the goodness of the other person. This goodness is always there but can remain hidden because of what is going on in the relationship. There is a saying in the Jewish Talmud, which says: ‘you do not see things as they are; you see things as you are’. This is very true within a couple’s relationship. The task is to turn yourself around to look for and to look at the goodness and beauty of the person you have married and to acknowledge these constantly as a feature of your love.
- Expressing thanks to one another is another quality of love that needs to be developed in a marriage relationship. A couple’s days, weeks, months and years are filled with countless small and sometimes great acts of generosity. The tragedy is that almost all of these remain unacknowledged. The result is that a very common experience of marriage is that of being taken for granted and as a result the spark of joy goes out of the relationship and it deteriorates into something a lot less than it should be and that a couple has promised to each other that it will be. The task is to develop the ability to say thanks, to show appreciation and to bring a real sense of gladness to the love that is shared and pledged.
- What are some of the qualities you admire most in your wife/husband in your relationship with one another?
- What are some of the qualities you admire most in your wife/husband in her/his relationship with your children?
- What are some of the qualities you admire most in your wife/husband in her/his relationship with friends and other people?
- Make a list of some of the acts of generosity you see your wife/husband has performed towards you and your family over the past week, month, year. Include all three times in your list. How can you express your gratitude for all this goodness?
Answer these questions individually first (at least 10 mins) and then share your answers with one another (at least 30 mins).