When I got engaged, the angels sang, Mom cried, Dad was relieved – “Finally, someone who can afford her!” (Thanks, Dad.) and I bragged to all who would listen: “Mark is a cross between Prince Charming and Jesus!” True story. I was a missionary at the time, and that line went in my newsletter to all my supporters. (They were relieved, too.)
Then, I got married. Not that Mark wasn’t Jesus or Prince Charming. But we did think (before marriage) that we knew everything. And we did think (before marriage) that the other person was perfect and would love, perfectly.
Well, well. What does this have to do with cultivating a heart of gratitude? Well, everything. One day while fuming over Mark’s non-Jesus-ness and where-did-that-charm-go-anyway, I knew I should call my friend, Deb. Now I knew what Deb would say. I didn’t want to call her. But I did. And she said just what I knew she would:
“Sue, I want you to list ten things that you appreciate about Mark.”
I didn’t want to list ten, I didn’t want to list one. I wasn’t ready to give up my grousing. A pity-party of one is still a party.
I listed ten and maybe one or two had to do with Mark’s meticulous flossing habits, but a good trait is a good trait. By the time I made it to ten, my pity party turned to a thanking party, and we’re still married.
I’ve made more than one list in the past almost thirty years. And it always works.
My older and wiser friend, Liz (married since the Dark Ages, mother of five boys so I listen when Liz speaks) said to me one day at my table: (read more at Crystal Twaddell’s 30 Days of Thanks-Living)
PS In honor of my Prince Charming/Jesus-man, I’ll share his favorite dessert: Apple Crisp. On the list: a man easy to please.