Simple Date Idea #7 – Gratitude Walk

My husband and I have discovered that often one of the first “honeymoon phase” practices to go is expressing gratitude to each other. That means it’s often a distant image in the rearview mirror for most couples who’ve been married for any length of time. But oh how it improves the atmosphere and culture of a marriage.

Gratitude

So in that spirit, and on the heels of my post from earlier this week about expressing thanksgiving and gratitude to God, I’d like to share a simple date idea that has served to encourage my husband and me.

In fact, you don’t have to necessarily do this on a walk. My husband and I try to express at least one affirmation or offer thanks at least once a day to each other. Often we do this just before we go to sleep.

But . . .

[Tweet “Doing this on a walk adds fun, as well as a bit of a game-element to the effort. #gratitudewalk”]

And since Spring is beginning to pop up all over the place here in the U.S., I’d say this is a great time of year to schedule and make this date idea happen.

I’m going to share some photos from one of our most recent “Gratitude Walks” belowโ€”along with some ideas for how to play this “dating game.”

Gratitude Walk Guidelines

1. Pick a favorite scenic and peaceful place to walk. ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Begin with prayerโ€”asking God to bless your time together (if your spouse is open and receptive to this).

3. Start walking and scanning for “visible” blessings in your surroundingsโ€”pointing them out to your mate what you are thankful God created or allowed you to see today. Do this several timesโ€”alternating back and forth with your spouse.

4. Move on to identifying the blessings you’re grateful for in your personal lives. Try to avoid, at this point, blessings you have in your marriage and family. This could be expressing gratitude for friends, fun activities, abilities you’ve been developing, passioins you have, etc. Alternate this back and forth with your mate until you’re ready to move to the next “step.” Pardon the pun! ๐Ÿ˜‰

5. Identify the blessings that you’re grateful for in your childrenโ€”even talking about the physical, emotional, relational and spiritual attributes of beauty and strength that you see evident or growing in their lives. You could also substitute or add blessings that you’re grateful for in your extended family and/or pets. Alternate this with your mate until you’re both ready to move on.

6. Count the many blessings of your marriageโ€”not focusing as much on your “mate” (just yet) as on the blessed impact of living together as husband and wife.

7. When one spouse is ready, initiate affirming the other spouse on something you’ve noticed in him or her lately. Alternate again. But be sure to give a lot of patience in this, because it sometimes takes time to think of something, especially if you haven’t gotten to spend much time together lately. Besides, this is the most vulnerable of all of the steps in the gratitude walk.

8. Finally, share some of the spiritual blessings you possess because of how God has been working in your life lately. If your mate isn’t a Christian, then don’t press for this step. But if you’re both believers, this can be a great way to encourage one another spiritually.

You could end here, begin again at any point, or start all over from the beginning. Just do what feels natural and enjoyable.

Click on the link for a “lovely” Printable PDF of the “Gratitude Walk.”

Steffaniak

A selfie before we headed out on our “Gratitude Walk.”

Grateful

The beauty of Watershed Nature Preserve of Edwardsville, Illinois.

Tree

Gary spotted this tree and was grateful for the sight of these unique, interesting and tangled branches.

Walk

Outdoor auditorium, anyone?

Wildflowers

Shoe to Shoe

Lovely spring grass popping up between our shoes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Flowers

Even weeds reflect God’s beauty and intricacy!

Spring

This was where I almost lost my footing and fell into the pond! My hubby told me that if that had happened, he would’ve first taken a pic of “me” before coming to my aid. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Geese

Look who popped out of no where! Since these cute little goslings (Ryan?) were hard to spot in the grass, I added the close-up box. Notice the straggler in the back? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh, and mama (or daddy) wasn’t happy with me getting so close!

Path

Happy trails to you and your mate! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

What are some of the blessings you see in any of these specific areas of your life and marriage?

 

What is another area of blessing in our lives to consider that wasn’t added in my list?

 


Linking up with these fine blogs โ€“ย  Making Your Home Sing, Moments of Hope, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Word of God Speak, Spiritual Sundays, Mama Shares Monday, Sitting Among Friends, Faith โ€˜n Friends, Fresh Market Friday and DanceWithJesusFriday

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  • Looks like a lot of fun, learning, and bonding with God and your spouse. Something I will definitely work towards doing with my husband, especially when summer kicks in fully, the weather is still too cold for me here in Canada. Thanks for sharing Beth.

    • It was and it really did encourage us, Ugochi. It’s something I hope that we make more of a habit of in the days to come–even if we can’t get out and walk. You might want to let him (your hubby) know that my hubby really appreciates how this gives him a focus to converse with me–therefore, he doesn’t feel the pressure he usually feels in times of conversation. Besides, keeping it all positive certainly keeps the problem-solving conversations at bay–something he is grateful for! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I believe that this is something most men fear and dread–conversations with their wives. Maybe that realization will disarm your hubby too. Hugs to you, my friend!

  • I like this idea. I think somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten how much we appreciate each other. But a walk outdoors together noticing the beauty and sharing gratitude sounds wonderful!

    Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #DanceWithJesus.

    • Yes, it’s so common to let those small kindnesses–words of affirmation–go by the wayside as we move along in marriage, Gayl. We must be intentional about keeping them present in our lives. Thanks for your encouraging words to me! Blessings to you too!

  • I like the “circling in” idea, I will certainly use that. Saying thank you to God over and over to an unbelieving spouse will not make for a fun day out ๐Ÿ˜‰ Celebrating a blessing in vaguely religious lingo might work though ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lovely photos! We are having a very good spring. Lambs and calves, and now the swallows are arriving. And the greens and blooms are brighter than they’ve been for a few years.

    David

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “circling in,” David. But I’m grateful for your encouraging words. I do hope that you try this with your wife. You can leave out all the gratitude to God language in favor of just what your grateful for. Everyone can see the benefit of that.

      Thanks also for the kind words about the photos. We live in something of a rural area–with lambs and calves just up the road. I should drive up that way just for the sights of spring! I’ve always loved seeing animals like that out grazing in the fields. When I was little and I was on vacations with my parents and they would see that we were passing a herd of cows, my mom would say, “Look, Beth! Moo-cows!” I bet that the sights of farmland are just a bit more beautiful in the UK. I remember I loved the vast green-space and farmland that we got to see as we traveled around on our trip there. I loved the fact that there were so many stone walls or “fences” between the property lines. That alone was so much more beautiful than the wood fences that often dot the farming landscapes here. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, my friend!

      • Circling in: surroundings … personal lives … children … marriage … spouse.

  • This is a wonderful idea!

    • Thank you, Elizabeth. I appreciate you coming by to visit!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What a lovely idea! The progression from visual blessing to marriage blessings, in a series of steps, is great.

    I would suggest that this can be a useful technique in a marriage that’s going through a dry season, when one’s mate hasn’t said”I’m glad I married you” within living memory.

    Going for this kind of walk with a same-sex solid friend and accountability partner, one can go through the same (albeit one-sided) steps, and the presence of a friend (who is willing to offer gentle correction) will keep it on track, and not allow a blame-and-pit-party to develop.

    There are always things for which we may be grateful, even in a spouse grown distant; courtesies and kindnesses, which, though they may be formal, are nonetheless real and worthy of remembrance.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/04/your-dying-spouse-300-bucket-list.html

    • Yes, I think that working our way into more vulnerable and intimate blessings is like strength training. You wouldn’t pick up the heaviest barbell when starting your work-out. It’s the same in this realm.

      I would totally agree about this being a useful exercise for couples who are losing their loving connection. Besides, I’ve always found walking to be a great way to stimulate conversation–better than sitting face-to-face, at least with most men.

      I agree with your idea on going with a friend or accountability partner. What a great suggestion! Maybe I’ll try it with one of my accountability partners next!

      Yes! Affirmation is such a powerful tool. We all need these small but important gestures to be shown in our marriages. It’s like watering a plant. You can’t just do it once and think you’re done! Otherwise we will end up with a shriveled and dead plant (marriage) on our hands! Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation, my friend! I always love having you visit!

  • Cute idea!! I came across an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond recently in which the elder couple were attempting to affirm each other. It was humorous, but also a sweet reminder of how important it is to not just assume our spouses know how grateful we are for them. I love to write my guy notes and slip them into his lunch- one element is usually something thankful or affirming. Love the idea of incorporating gratitude into a date : )

  • Kelly

    What a great idea! It’s so easy to get caught up in the business of everyday life and forget to take the time to remember why we love our spouse. It sure makes a difference though! I love the idea of a gratitude walk. Thank you for sharing!

  • What a great idea! We have actually used the alphabet game on our anniversary to go through all the things we are grateful for through the years. Love how your brain works so creatively!

  • Sarah Geringer

    Love your photos and suggestions here, Beth! I have those same daisy-shaped weeds blooming near my flowerbed now, and I can’t bear to cut them down. I’ll wait until they’re spent to mow them, because they add to the beauty of my beds.

  • What a wonderful idea, Beth! Especially good timing, as I think things are getting a bit cool here in the homefront. My dh works out of town M-Th, and of course, with 3 kids at home, weekends are especially busy! This is a terrific, easy-on-the-budget, way to reconnect!
    And what a pretty PDF!!!
    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You always are so full of fun ideas! Love you and love this!! Thank you for sharing this with us at #MomentsofHope!
    Hugs,
    Lori

  • Liz Rigby

    Fabulous! So glad I found this at Lori’s linkup, such a great idea. <3