The right mindset is one that allows you to be truly satisfied simply by the act of giving to another person, not just material gifts, but also time, commitment, concern, respect, appreciation, and expressions of love.
Richard Paul Evans, the bestselling author of The Christmas Box, explains how he saved his marriage by changing his mindset in this way. When he realized that he needed to change, his marriage was falling apart:
For years my wife Keri and I struggled. Looking back, I’m not exactly sure what initially drew us together, but our personalities didn’t quite match up. And the longer we were married the more extreme the differences seemed. Encountering “fame and fortune” didn’t make our marriage any easier. In fact, it exacerbated our problems.
The tension between us got so bad that going out on book tour became a relief, though it seems we always paid for it on re-entry. Our fighting became so constant that it was difficult to even imagine a peaceful relationship. We became perpetually defensive, building emotional fortresses around our hearts. We were on the edge of divorce and more than once we discussed it.
But then Evans came up with a strategy for finding satisfaction in giving to his wife. Each day he decided to ask her directly how he could make his day better. He recalls the beginning of his new approach: The next morning I rolled over in bed next to Keri and asked, “How can I make your day better?”