Marriage

Culture of Gratitude

King and I had another opportunity to teach engaged couples in our church yesterday, at our wedding prep seminar called Before I Do. And one of the principles that we teach, though it is not in their manuals, is the concept of low expectation, high appreciation. In simpler terms, low demand, high appreciation. Demand less, hope more, and appreciate more.

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I think it is pretty easy to be thankful for the pleasant surprises, for the unexpected. Things that you hope for and do not demand for, but surprisingly receive. Things that you think you would not get or experience, but then do.

But do we still express thanks for the normal, day-to-day, expected things? Things that are routine already? Things that you think you ought to receive, or things you feel you deserve?

Like maybe when your husband pays the bills on time (and you don’t even notice or get stressed out because they’re always paid for monthly). Or like when your wife keeps the peace at home among the children (and you don’t realize that you get saved from the stress of having to mediate because the issue has already been handled). Or when your husband holds the door for you. Or when your wife brings you water and food. Or when your husband drives for you. Or when your wife drives for you. Or when your husband plans dates with you. Or when your wife organizes your schedule as a family. Or when your husband does the plumbing. Or when your wife does the laundry.

Thank your spouse! Especially for the seemingly little and seemingly ordinary. Everything you do for your spouse and for your family is not little. It is not ordinary. Everything your spouse does for you and for your family is not little. It is not ordinary. Each of your contributions in your marriage is valuable. Appreciate each other. Verbally. Not just by actions. Your words have power. Use them to build a culture of gratitude in your marriage. ❤

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Marriage, Relationships

Low Expectation, High Appreciation

One of the best lessons we have learned, and also teach to other couples, is the concept of Low Expectation and High Appreciation. Coming from a place of hope instead of demand or expectation.

A few months ago, I noticed this in action. Not that it’s never at work in our marriage haha. I just distinctly noticed it that day. King didn’t bring a car to work, so we agreed that I would pick him up in the evening. But he messaged me during the day and asked me to pick him up in the mall near us, since he was able to get a ride from a co-worker. I happily agreed.

When I picked him up, he thanked me for the effort. He knew he could have just walked home.

I was actually happy that I didn’t have to drive all the way to the office, grateful I could pick him up nearby.

Neither of us had high expectation or high demand. Though we agreed on me picking him up, he hoped I would be agreeable to picking him up in the mall that’s not even five minutes away from our house. He hoped, but he was also willing to walk if needed. Though we agreed on me picking him up, I hoped that I would not have to because he could hitch a ride. I hoped 😂 but I was also willing to do what was agreed upon.

We both ended up appreciative of each other because our hopes were realized. Imagine if we both came from a place of demand or expectation. If he had demanded that I pick him up, he would not have appreciated the fact that I did because “it was agreed upon.” Words like “buti nga malapit lang ako nagpasundo!” might have come out. If I had demanded that he hitch a ride, I would not have appreciated that he cut my drive short by 20-40 minutes. Words like “ang lapit na lang eh, di pa naglakad.” might have come out.

The beauty of that is, even if we stuck with our agreement, we would still have been grateful because we did not turn our hopes into expectation or demand. He would still have been grateful that he got picked up. I would have still been grateful that I was able to pick him up.

Low expectation. High appreciation. We don’t get this right all the time, but it is good practice, I would say not just for couple relationships, but especially for married couples. And when it isn’t successfully practiced, bigger words come into play — mercy, grace, dying to self, forgiveness, love, faith, trust, inside out transformation. All by the grace of God. ❤️