Family affair

A Family Affair: Practice Gratitude with Your Friends

Jacob Priest is a licensed marriage and family therapist and professor at the University of Iowa. He co-hosts the attached podcast. (Jacob Priest)

My family and I are moving into a new house. The worst thing is to move. Even though we have hired movers, packing, unpacking and finding new places to put everything is exhausting. I quickly passed out in bed early every night for the past week.

My wife and family are not from Iowa. When we bought this new house, I think they realized that we were committed to staying in Iowa. Sometimes I think they have a hard time understanding that. My wife’s family lives in Florida near the beach. For them, they can’t imagine being anywhere else. My family lives in Utah. They love to hike and ski, and while these activities exist in Iowa, they are not the same.

Why do we stay? I really like my job and my wife too. It’s what brought us both to Iowa in the first place. But that’s not the reason.

Iowa is a fairly affordable place to live. It’s hard to imagine our budget getting us a similar home in Florida or Utah. But that’s not it either.

What is the reason we stay in Iowa? The community.

Although moving was exhausting, whenever I need help I can text any number of friends who will do what they can to show up. When we first moved, these same friends showed up on New Year’s Day to paint. And they stayed until the job was done.

Some of these friends we met at work. The others are our neighbors. But no matter how we met them, they all helped keep us in Iowa.

I know this column is supposed to give relationship advice, but I want to do something a little different today. Research has shown how important gratitude is in relationships. Recognizing the things our loved ones do for us is key to maintaining and growing relationships.

So, if you allow me, I will practice what I preach.

Liz, Michael, Jeremy, Jan, Kristi, Ali, Cody, Rebecca, Alison, Liz, Nathan, Hayley, Kyle, Volker, Edie, Elsabeth, Matt, Vosatka, Gerta, Jermey, Kelly, Kayla, Betsy and Levi — thank you! Thank you for being reliable, kind and fun. Thank you for loving our son and all of our cats. Thank you for coming when we needed you. You put kindness in “Iowa nice”.

If you’re going to take something away from this column, maybe think about the friends you’d rely on if you had to move. And maybe find a way to let them know how much you appreciate them.

Jacob Priest is a licensed marriage and family therapist and professor at the University of Iowa College of Education. He is also a co-host of the attached podcast. Comments: [email protected]