How To Inspire A Culture Of Love And Generosity In Your Marriage
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
The season of giving is wrapping up, but generosity never gets old. It's one of the most powerful forces to keep love alive.
You know how good it feels to give someone a gift and have them LOVE it, yes? This is the heart of the matter, so let me share more.
Yesterday, I gave my 4 year old a “jaguar mask” (I think it was actually a cheetah, but he’s enthralled with jaguars right now and this passes as one.)
He opened the gift and gasped, “Oh, yay!” Then he jumped up and down a few times in total joy. He turned to me and said, “THANK YOU SO MUCH! You gave me a jaguar mask!” Then he ran to me and KISSED me!
This was the most natural overflows of genuine gratitude I’ve seen in along time. My heart swelled full.
Think of a time a similar bubbling up of gratitude happened when you gave someone something.
Remember what it felt like for YOU.
Notice how that feels: warm, tingly, open, joyful in your body?
Being genuinely generous feels really good. That’s the real reason to do it.
But it also tends to inspire good feelings in the person to whom we gave the gift. Especially when the other really RECEIVES your generosity with appreciation.
And feelings of appreciation lead to appreciative actions.
When we feel appreciation genuinely, when we say the words “thank you” or we just radiate appreciation (like the bouncing up and down from joy my little boy exhibited! Or his sweet happy kiss)— THAT is giving a gift to the person who gave us a gift.
It’s a giving back.
It is natural reciprocation—a positive feedback loop that promotes more kindness, generosity and appreciation! We get caught up in the excitement and rush of it all.
But hear this:
We don’t GIVE so that the other person gives something back to us. We don’t give because we expect something in return. That's not generosity.
Giving should NOT be a manipulation tactic aimed at GETTING. When you give, make sure you don’t do it for the other person’s reaction.
Though it IS an invitation towards inspired reciprocity, we give because being generous genuinely feels good to us!
So today, like most days, I’m giving my husband acknowledgment.
I’m giving him my 100% focused curious attention, for some moments of the day. When I look into his eyes, and really SEE him. When I ask him how he is, and really HEAR him as he answers.
I’m offering some appreciative words for things he’s done. Small thank you’s— for lighting our wood fire, for leaving the kitchen tidy.
I’m giving to him by telling him I love him for who he is…
And it’s likely he’ll turn to me with eyes lit up and a big smile on his face. Take my attention in. Kiss me in return. Hold me in his arms.
These little moments make up the fabric of our days—and years—together. They bind us closely, keep tenderness, connection and open-heartedness —and all the other sweet feelings that generosity rouses— at the center of our lives together.
They make our marriage a loving dance of reciprocity.
But it wouldn’t be the case without me purposefully choosing to be generous. Even if in the moment I don’t “feel” like it. I make my way back to it, over and over. Because it is that important, that generous to me in return over the longterm.
So, what can you give your partner today, or this week that you know will make them feel good?
Not for him, per se, but because you love watching him be happy, because you love seeing him receive what you give, because that just feels good…
…And because you know that by giving genuinely without attachment you invite and inspire the culture of generosity to be part of your marriage.
In which your partner will likely behave in unpredictably warm-hearted ways.
But no matter how they respond, YOU’LL feel amazing. Because you are being the loving generous person YOU WANT to be in this world.
And THAT is the best feeling ever. One I want YOU to have.