Our little secret - Thank your partner
Over the years I have had people ask me how my husband and I have such a great marriage. Now I want to preface this by saying we are still relatively new to marriage, only being married for 6 years. If I can be totally honest, I don’t think that we do have “such a great marriage”, I think that we have an averagely happy marriage. We still have our disagreements and things that annoy the heck out of each other and I know we have both said some awful words that we can’t take back, and we will always have a growing list of things we need to work on. It seems like I always have to preface any answer I give with acknowledging that we are just as human and flawed as everyone else. We have had people ask us if our relationship is “fake” because “No one can love each other like you two do after the honeymoon phase”. Again, I don’t think we are extraordinary, we both agree our marriage is average and we do the very best we can to make sure that we are working together as a team to constantly grow together. So, when someone recently asked me how to handle a situation with their spouse, I realized that I didn’t know how to help them, because my husband would not have intentionally put me in that exact position. I am not saying he doesn’t make mistakes, it’s just that in this specific (yet very personal scenario) I knew he wouldn’t have done/said those same things to me. I started to wonder why some people thought we were so “different” and “special”, as if there were some magic formula or some big grand gesture that made us so in love with each other. In a world where others our age have already been divorced, what was it that made people think that our average marriage was some big grandiose thing? Then it hit me, it wasn’t one big thing… it was many, many little things over and over again. One of the biggest differences I have noticed in our recent years is that we genuinely thank each other, daily. We say Thank you, just as much (if not more) than we say I love you and those two small words make such a big difference in how we treat each other. When we thank someone, we are saying “I notice you, I notice the effort you have put in to this situation and I appreciate it”. So, we say Thank you… I thank my husband for carrying the heavy grocery bag I thank him when he makes our daughter a bottle while I am giving her a bath I thank him when he turns my heated blanket on for me before I get into bed I thank him when he vacuums even though he was going to do it anyway I thank him when he listens to me vent and complain I thank him when he deals with our Tornado of a Toddler while I finish the dishes I thank him when he comes home from a long day and takes over for me when my toddler and I have had a day full of chaos and tears I thank him for understanding that sometimes the house is messy when he gets home from work I thank him when he lets me spend a little extra on something nice to wear, just because it made me happy I thank him for reminding me when I have forgotten something I thank him every time he opens a door for me I thank him for still grabbing my butt like we are newlyweds even though I roll my eyes at him every time he does it I thank him when he grabs something from a high shelf for me (even though he makes fun of me while he does it) I thank him when he feeds the cats, when he locks up the house at night time, when he starts my laundry for me I thank him for working so hard and getting up early so that I don’t have to I thank him when he has a hard day at work and feels safe enough to vent to me I thank him when he does anything that he is “suppose to” do anyway He thanks me for letting him sleep in on his day off while I am up with our Toddler He thanks me when I do the dishes He thanks me when I make his side of the bed He thanks me when I make sure to order his favorite mouthwash He thanks me when I remember which vitamins he needs He thanks me when I plan our week and answer him for the 4th time what the plan is today He thanks me for taking out the garbage He thanks me for making the reservations He thanks me for putting away the groceries He thanks me for putting lotion on him because he hates touching it He thanks me for making him food for work He thanks me for rubbing his back and his feet when they are sore He thanks me for holding the flash light or the end of the tape measure He thanks me when I help him move things that are too heavy for one person He thanks me for admitting when I was wrong He thanks me when I wait for him to finish what he is doing before I talk to him so he can give me his full attention He thanks me for setting up the coffee maker He thanks me for remembering to buy his milk just because I noticed he was low He thanks me when I choose to wait until I am no longer mad to bring up something rationally He thanks me when I put things in our calendar He thanks me for being a great mom, even when I am about to cry He thanks me for doing my best today, especially on the really hard days Because here is the thing, just because we should do something, doesn’t mean we have to and even then, we do so many things for each other that we don’t have to but we do it because we enjoy helping each other. Why? Because he is my Teammate, he is my Partner and we are doing this thing called life together. I tell him how great of a man he is, and he simply reply’s with “I try”. In my eye’s he does more than try, he holds up this family and I in turn hold him up. The humility of a silently strong man is more secure than a man who brags about how much he does for me. We don’t keep score (except at crib!) and we always say thank you, even if we are fighting, we can say “I love you” just by saying “thank you”. The next time your partner does something for you, ask yourself, “Do they know how much I appreciate what they just did? Do they know that I see them and their efforts? Do I just assume that they know how much I care?”. Thank them, genuinely thank them. We all need a lot more partnership in our relationships. When it comes to what I think the secret to marriage is, (as someone who is still a newbie myself) it’s the small things done daily that matter the most. It’s reaching your foot over to touch your spouse when you both crawl into bed at night after a fight. It’s sending a “Good Morning Beautiful” text every single day. It’s holding the door open even if your own hands are full. Flowers are lovely, and I appreciate them when I get them, but I appreciate the cup of coffee he makes for me while he is making himself a cup WAY more. Do the little things, Thank each other…every…single…day.