Have you ever lost something around the house and then found it? Maybe you didn't even know you'd lost it. But, when it turned up, how did you feel? Elated? Relieved? Surprised and satisfied? All of the above? "I thought I'd never see that again!" Sometimes what we lose is intangible, especially in our marriage. John Gottman has discovered that healthy couples have a real sense of fondness and admiration going on. They like each other--go figure, right? Seems pretty obvious. Wouldn't any married couple appreciate one another and say so? Of course, you would think that. But, unfortunately, this is one of the very valuable things that we sometimes lose in marriage. It gets "misplaced," under the urgency of life, in the "clutter" of more pressing matters: jobs, bills, kids, little league, church. Other things crowd out our most important relationship. We forget to touch, to say, "Thank you," to tell our spouse how awesome they are. And when that goes away, we see our partner through "darker glasses." We find fault where we never used to. We view negatively what otherwise wouldn't bother us. Little things become big and a downward spiral of distance and isolation gathers momentum. It can be hard to stop.
But, we can find what we lost, even if we thought we'd never see it again. Start by building a case in your own heart that your spouse is God's gift to you. Someone said, "Every marriage has grounds for divorce. Find grounds for marriage." Usually, it's not that the evidence isn't there. We've just stopped looking. So, choose to see your partner's positives. Then say what you see. Compliments don't cost a dime. They can do wonders. Express appreciation. Say, "Thank you," even if it's for something small. It can change the atmosphere in the coldest relationships. Be patient. Give it time. You'd be surprised what you can still find in your heart if you just look for it.