Two men met not so long ago. The timing of this meeting was perfect. One of the men was going through a very difficult time in his marriage. Things were not going well at all. He and his wife did not get along and whenever he entered his home, it was if he walked out of a warm house right into the dark cold night outside. There was no light in his marriage. His wife was cold and distant.
He told his friend what a mean women his wife has become; how great she used to be but how she changed. He mentioned a book he read on how the person you sleep next to at night is not the same person you married. He was deeply disappointed that it has come to this. It was not what he expected at all.
Then his friend, Darren, told him about a valuable lesson that took place during Thanksgiving.
Darren established a habit of setting time aside during Thanksgiving to write personal notes to key people in his life. He would tell them how much they meant to him. He would count their good qualities first. One Thanksgiving he and his wife had a serious spat. Darren found it difficult to count anything positive that day. But he wrote a note in any case, and kept it positive—he thanked his wife and praised her anyhow.
In fact, he did that for a whole year. At the end of each day he made it a habit to pause and write down three reasons to be thankful for having a great wife. He gave the journal to her one year later and many tears were shed. Darren says he got more out of this than his wife. It did wonders for their marriage.
Darren told his friend to try the same method of intentionally counting the reasons to be thankful. His reluctant friend said “I shall try it but only for the next three months”
Then something amazing happened.
The bad marriage was restored. The couple grew closer again. They started to appreciate the best in their spouse.
This story taught me that my friend Pierre Nel who lives in South Africa was 100% right when he told me not so long ago, “Marriage is a bit like flying a plane. You have to make constant little changes along the way. If you don’t then eventually you will have to make one big change which often comes too late or becomes impossible. The plane then may crash”
When I asked my aunt in Capetown why her marriage is so happy she said “Be interested and be interesting” She has her husband’s back and he has hers. Although they are close as a couple they also have spaces in their togetherness to do the things that make them interesting.
I write this story to inspire you to think about what you are thinking about. What matters the most is how we set our sails—not from which direction the wind blows. Set your sails right and live life by example.
PS This story is based on a real life event where Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success Magazine, told during an interview how he made it a habit to each day think of three things that his wife did that day that gave him reasons to be thankful.