Become more positive in your marriage by cultivating gratitude.

How to Become More Positive in Your Marriage

by April Sanders

For many people, the happiest day of their lives was the day they got married. But after the romance of the wedding comes the reality of marriage. Let's face it -- marriage can be hard. Life and all its challenges can bring you down, and as a result, your marriage may suffer. It's hard to be positive when you and your spouse are suffering, but there is power in positive thinking. Research shows that spouses in good marriages interact in more positive than negative ways with each other. Our thoughts fuel our actions, so think positive and positive actions will follow.

Cultivate gratitude for the good things you have in your life. Studies show that people who keep a gratitude journal are happier than people who don't and while it can sometimes be hard to look for the good when there is a lot of stress in your life, taking the time to be thankful for even the little things will result in a marked increase in your happiness. If you are happier, then your marriage will become happier as well.

Show your appreciation. According to "Divorce-proof Your Marriage," a 2006 article in "U.S. News and World Report," the most important factor in creating a more contented marriage is appreciation. Count your blessings, and demonstrate your appreciation for the things that your spouse does for you and your marriage. If you show your appreciation for the little things she does, she just might return the favor. In time, this will lead to mutual appreciation, trust, and increased positivity.

Develop a support system. Sometimes it's just too difficult to become more positive in your marriage when you are on your own. Couples counseling can help you overcome serious problems. Getting together with good friends once a week can lift your mood and give you something positive to look forward to.

Stick to the issue. Money, in-laws and children are all common sources of conflict. Instead of focusing on the negative traits in your spouse -- for example, how he reacts to misbehavior in a child -- focus on the cause of the conflict instead. Deal with the misbehavior of the child. Obviously child-rearing should be a partnership, but sticking to the issue will help reduce negative thoughts about your spouse.

Learn how to resolve conflict. Once you have determined the issue at the root of the conflict, learn how to communicate without being hurtful or critical of each other. If you can communicate openly and honestly, you will increase the amount of positivity in your marriage.

Find common ground. Determine and then cultivate the things you have in common. If you both love to ski, make a concentrated effort to go on at least one ski vacation per year. Once a week is even better -- if you both love Mexican food, for example, find a favorite Mexican place and visit it regularly. The more fun you have together in your marriage, the more you will be able to see your spouse -- and your marriage -- in a positive light.

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