In a study of 1365 married couples, researchers found that
couples who performed small acts of kindness, displayed respect and affection, and showed a willingness to forgive the spouse's faults or failings were more likely to experience marital satisfaction and less likely to consider divorce.
This seems so obvious - but it is nice to know that science confirms generosity builds strong relationships.
One reason for this may be the increase in oxytocin that is known to occur when people are generous. Oxytocin is often called the "bonding" hormone, but is also released when people demonstrate generosity.
Giving of our time is often more meaningful than giving gifts or money - and may also include giving of our talents. You are demonstrating generosity when you share your time with your children - feel free to say, "I'm spending time playing with you now, and I enjoy sharing my time with you."
Sharing your abilities and skills with others occurs easily in the workplace, but consider allowing your children to see you using your talents while volunteering. Encourage your children to share their skills by walking a neighbor’s dog, coloring a picture for a grandparent, singing or playing a musical instrument at a nursing facility.
Treasures are the things we accumulate as well as our money. This is the perfect time of year to go through all the closets in your home and find clothing, toys, and food that can be donated to the less fortunate. Allow your children to decide which of their treasures they will donate - and remind them they should give items that they would actually enjoy receiving - i.e. not the dirty, old, misshapen stuffed animal they have outgrown.
Giving thanks is an easy way to spread generosity. Encourage your children to write thank you notes after receiving gifts this holiday season. Even a three year old can draw a picture.