Appreciation Goes A Long Way in Marriage
- 2007 21 Apr
Last month I had the opportunity to go on a 13 day mission trip to Europe. When a wife and mother prepares to leave her family for 13 days, it really causes everyone to think about all that she does! For instance, my husband, Mark, doesn't know where the mail goes after it's been opened because he never has to deal with it. I always sort and file it. He never checks phone messages -- he doesn't have to because I take care of that. He rarely packs lunches for the kids and doesn't always remember exactly what each one likes in their lunch -- he doesn't have to know those details because I usually handle them.
But I'm soon reminded that this little exercise can go both ways. Yesterday I stepped out into the garage to throw something in the large trash can we keep there. As I walked toward the door, I remembered it was trash day and all the cans had been taken out for pick up. However, I opened the door and saw the can in the garage. I didn't think retreiving the can ahead of time -- but he did.
We live in the country and have a water softener that needs 40 lb bags of salt put into it each month. In the 7 years we've lived here I've never put salt in the softener -- I don't have to because Mark handles that. The lawnmower needs a tune-up? The car needs an oil change? If left to me, I'd certainly be dealing with repair bills. But I don't have to worry about those things because my husband handles them.
Sometimes it becomes easy to notice all that our spouse doesn't do. However, if pressed, each of us could make a list of all the things we don't do, too. Those are the things we need to appreciate and express our gratitude for. Need some help thinking of the things your spouse handles that you rarely have to think about? Use this list to get the wheels turning:
• Lawn mowing/Yardwork
• Auto care
• Paying Bills
• House Cleaning
• Caring for the children
• Dentist/Doctor appointments
• Grocery Shopping
• Planning vacation details
If you are having trouble seeing what your spouse does regularly, try asking God to show you the things that are usually invisible to you. If you struggle with a critical spirit toward your spouse, this exercise is a sure antidote for dealing with the sin in your own heart and mind. Criticism tears down a marriage, while appreciation builds up a relationship.
A verbal "thank you" is sometimes all that's needed, but a written card or note can be especially effective in expressing thankfulness and appreciation to the one you love. If you haven't said thank you to your spouse for the things he/she handles on a regular basis, join me in giving them a hat's off to express your gratefulness. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way for all of us!
Jill Savage (www.jillsavage.org) serves as the Executive Director of Hearts at Home (www.hearts-at-home.org). She is the author of three books with a fourth book to be released in July 2005. You can hear Jill on Focus on the Family this month - tune in on May 18 (or in the radio archives at www.family.org) to hear the incredible journey of faith she and her family experienced in adopting a nine-year-old boy from Russia.