Choose a positive filter
When your spouse falls short—even just a little short—of your expectations, it’s easy to get frustrated fast. But before you send off another snippy text message, consider this: Positive thinking can transform your life and your marriage immediately. Studies show that positive thinking can reduce stress levels and may increase lifespan, improve cardiovascular health, lower depression levels, and even cut down on the common cold. Having a positive attitude can take practice, but the contagiousness of positivity can save your marriage. If, say, your partner didn’t empty the dishwasher like he said he would—but he did carve out 20 minutes to work with your kid on his baseball throw or family history project—try to focus on the checked-off To-Dos instead of the unfinished ones. We all have hard days—and it’s basically impossible to be positive 100 percent of the time—but being mindful of your attitude is the key to making positivity an outlook you can attempt on the hardest of days. Here’s some happy marriage advice every couple could use.
Keep a gratitude jar
Yes, it’s cheesy—but it works. Together, decide how often you’ll contribute to the jar (daily, weekly, etc.), then jot down a note about something your spouse did or said that you feel grateful for. Keep it front and center—say, on your kitchen counter or dresser in your bedroom—so there’s a visual reminder to contribute. A gratitude jar is a great way to not only show appreciation for your spouse, but to truly see all the things that they do for you. On bad days, pull out the jar and read through all the notes you’ve written to flood back memories of appreciation for the little things. These health benefits of gratitude are pretty ridiculous.