Over our forty-three years together, what I'm most grateful for in my wife has frequently shifted. I'm confident saying this is probably true for most people in long-term relationships.
Lately, I've grown to be most grateful for her visual sense of the world. Each time we walk together, but especially when we are hiking, her attention to the surroundings grounds me in the here and now. This may not seem like much to some of you but to this goal-driven, perpetually distracted, auditorily-oriented blogger it is huge. If not for her, the visual wonders of the physical world could easily escape my notice.
I'm not uninterested in the things right in front of me. When my wife takes the time to point out a flower or tree, linger at a beautiful spot just because, or explain - for the tenth time - the difference between lichen and fungi, I listen attentively. I try to be fully present and retain what she's teaching me. And though I'm aware in the moment of the gifts I'm receiving, my monkey mind still gets the better of me more often than not. How many steps have I taken so far? When will I get in some guitar time today? What was that song fragment or idea for a blog post or nascent essay kernel I had right before she spotted that pileated woodpecker and pointed it out to me?
If you are in a long-term relationship, what are you most recently grateful for in your partner? Who gives you the most help seeing the ever-present, astonishing wonders of the world? Most important question for me: What is your most effective strategy for putting goals aside long enough to take in those wonders?