My husband and I have discovered that often one of the first “honeymoon phase” practices to go is expressing gratitude to each other. That means it’s often a distant image in the rearview mirror for most couples who’ve been married for any length of time. But oh how it improves the atmosphere and culture of a marriage.
So in that spirit, and on the heels of my post from earlier this week about expressing thanksgiving and gratitude to God, I’d like to share a simple date idea that has served to encourage my husband and me.
In fact, you don’t have to necessarily do this on a walk. My husband and I try to express at least one affirmation or offer thanks at least once a day to each other. Often we do this just before we go to sleep.
But . . .
[Tweet “Doing this on a walk adds fun, as well as a bit of a game-element to the effort. #gratitudewalk”]
And since Spring is beginning to pop up all over the place here in the U.S., I’d say this is a great time of year to schedule and make this date idea happen.
I’m going to share some photos from one of our most recent “Gratitude Walks” below—along with some ideas for how to play this “dating game.”
Gratitude Walk Guidelines
1. Pick a favorite scenic and peaceful place to walk. 🙂
2. Begin with prayer—asking God to bless your time together (if your spouse is open and receptive to this).
3. Start walking and scanning for “visible” blessings in your surroundings—pointing them out to your mate what you are thankful God created or allowed you to see today. Do this several times—alternating back and forth with your spouse.
4. Move on to identifying the blessings you’re grateful for in your personal lives. Try to avoid, at this point, blessings you have in your marriage and family. This could be expressing gratitude for friends, fun activities, abilities you’ve been developing, passioins you have, etc. Alternate this back and forth with your mate until you’re ready to move to the next “step.” Pardon the pun! 😉
5. Identify the blessings that you’re grateful for in your children—even talking about the physical, emotional, relational and spiritual attributes of beauty and strength that you see evident or growing in their lives. You could also substitute or add blessings that you’re grateful for in your extended family and/or pets. Alternate this with your mate until you’re both ready to move on.
6. Count the many blessings of your marriage—not focusing as much on your “mate” (just yet) as on the blessed impact of living together as husband and wife.
7. When one spouse is ready, initiate affirming the other spouse on something you’ve noticed in him or her lately. Alternate again. But be sure to give a lot of patience in this, because it sometimes takes time to think of something, especially if you haven’t gotten to spend much time together lately. Besides, this is the most vulnerable of all of the steps in the gratitude walk.
8. Finally, share some of the spiritual blessings you possess because of how God has been working in your life lately. If your mate isn’t a Christian, then don’t press for this step. But if you’re both believers, this can be a great way to encourage one another spiritually.
You could end here, begin again at any point, or start all over from the beginning. Just do what feels natural and enjoyable.
Click on the link for a “lovely” Printable PDF of the “Gratitude Walk.”
A selfie before we headed out on our “Gratitude Walk.”
The beauty of Watershed Nature Preserve of Edwardsville, Illinois.
Gary spotted this tree and was grateful for the sight of these unique, interesting and tangled branches.
Outdoor auditorium, anyone?
Lovely spring grass popping up between our shoes! 😉
Even weeds reflect God’s beauty and intricacy!
This was where I almost lost my footing and fell into the pond! My hubby told me that if that had happened, he would’ve first taken a pic of “me” before coming to my aid. 😉
Look who popped out of no where! Since these cute little goslings (Ryan?) were hard to spot in the grass, I added the close-up box. Notice the straggler in the back? 😉 Oh, and mama (or daddy) wasn’t happy with me getting so close!
Happy trails to you and your mate! 🙂
What are some of the blessings you see in any of these specific areas of your life and marriage?
What is another area of blessing in our lives to consider that wasn’t added in my list?
Linking up with these fine blogs – Making Your Home Sing, Moments of Hope, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Word of God Speak, Spiritual Sundays, Mama Shares Monday, Sitting Among Friends, Faith ‘n Friends, Fresh Market Friday and DanceWithJesusFriday