I've recently written of the challenges of romantic and marital relationships, how our thoughts of one another can suddenly or gradually shift from the positive to the negative, and how love - without deliberate care and maintenance - can be lost.
With the cognitive shift to negative thinking, behaviour follows and we can share more negative than positive experiences.
We must remain wary of this tendency towards negativity - of criticism and complaining - of competing needs and wants.
At our family dinner table, we play the Appreciation Game.
My kids might tell you that I force them to play the game but of course it's for our own good. Everyone comes out a winner, and everyone gets to eat after we play the game.
Even on days when the kids haven't been getting along, I ask each to say at least one thing they appreciate about each of the other members of the family - including each sibling and parent.
I've also taught my kids to start and end each day with a prayer of thanksgiving with a special emphasis on the people who make a positive difference in their lives.
If they're ever stuck for some ideas, I start them off by reminding them about everything Mom and Dad do for them.
Counting their blessings at the start of each day, they are primed to look for the positive throughout that day. At day's end when I would tuck them into bed, they will recall the good that they have been given; again, a positive way to close the day.
This framing of the day with an attitude of gratitude influences how they see their world, themselves and others. Rather than focus on what they lack and what they want, they appreciate what they do have and feel more empowered to manage the challenges of each day.
I practise the same rituals, and it has helped me through difficult and challenging times in my life. Each morning, the first person I think of before I get out of my bed is the person lying next to me - my wife.
No matter what the day has brought and even when we have had disagreements, I have continued my ritual of appreciation.
Invariably, the good that I have been given through the blessings of this relationship and the daily devotion of my wife over many years outweighs the minor challenges of the day.
The act of appreciation may sound simple or simplistic, but it has helped me keep perspective - on what matters most to me and what really makes a difference in the life of my family.
Dr. Davidicus Wong is a physician and writer. His Healthwise column appears regularly in this paper, and his blog can be found at davidicuswong.wordpress.com, twitter.com/drdavidicuswong and facebook.com/davidicus.wong.