I’m only 15 years into this covenant that has me legally bound to a man who is the complete and utter opposite of me, but I know that a duo with two distinct personality types can and will duel at times.
While we haven’t brought knives, guns or other physical weapons into our conflicts, we have brought cutting words, instead.
Let me re-write that:
While I haven’t brought knives, guns or other physical weapons into our conflicts, I have brought cutting words, instead.
Through the years, we’ve learned how to argue and how not to argue.
I remember right after we had Lila, our nearly ten-year-old first born, I actively kept a mental tally of every task that I did and every task that I felt that Craig a.) should be doing or b.) should have known that he should be doing.
I’ve learned that tracking any sort of negativity seems to just beget more negativity.
And before you know it you’re mad all the time and have fresh forehead scowling wrinkles. (Which nobody wants.)
So back in the winter of 2016, I was listening to some podcast and the person being interviewed said that his wife had recently told him, “You don’t appreciate me.”
(Um, how many times have we all said that? I’ve been guilty of telling Craig that he didn’t appreciate me. I recall a day whence I listed all of the stuff I had accomplished, and told him, “I just need for you to acknowledge that I did *all* that stuff and I am superior to you.” We laughed. Because laughter is everything. But there was some sting there. A little zinger that I stabbed into him… )
So the wife told the guy being interviewed, “You don’t appreciate me.”
He ruminated on this for a while. He realized… that he didn’t particularly appreciate her or not appreciate her. He just, well… he just didn’t think about all of the things she did or didn’t do. He just knew that she did her thing, he did his and that was it.
So, he decided that he’d start acknowledging her every day.
This podcast resonated with me.
I don’t tell or show Craig how much I love him every day…
I like to write…
[can you see the wheels turning?]
My husband? He’s pretty amazing. When we were married I had “You’re my everything” engraved on the inside of his ring (that he hasn’t worn for almost a year since he dislocated his finger during the “Olympics” Day at the girls’ school last February) and I honestly don’t think I even had any clue back then what “everything” really meant.
I’m a fast-mover. I know what the day is going to look like before I wake up in the morning – in fact, I know what the week looks like. I’ve got everything timed to the hour, usually. I’m an odd mix of Type A in terms of productivity and scheduling, and ridiculously lax when it comes to other stuff.
Like the 167,ooo+ unread messages in my phone inbox.
I forget to shave my legs at least twice a week and the other day I had my underwear on inside out. All day. (At least they weren’t backward, right?) And that’s not the first time that’s happened, either.
I’m an organized hot mess.
Living with me isn’t easy. I’m loud. I talk all.of.the.time. I have far too many ideas and I can’t stand other people’s clutter. (Mine is fine.)
He, on the other hand, is consistent and loyal and decisive and ultimately a well-thought-out antithesis of me. He’s neat and kind and is constantly thinking and tinkering and doing. And he’s not always talking. He’s contemplating. And making plans.
And I don’t tell him enough how much I love him.
So, I decided to start writing to my husband every day starting on Christmas Day 2016.
I carried around a little journal with me and for 365 days, I wrote to him. Never more than several sentences, but they were words. The physical act of stopping and paying tribute to him, every day… was something I just needed to do.
I wrote to him on days when I was annoyed.
And then, I wrapped up the worn out journal that had traveled in the depths of my purse with me for a year and I gave it to him on Christmas morning last year.
It was a sweet moment.
And I’m pretty sure that was my favorite gift I’ve ever given.
What I’ve learned in the year since I gave that gift, is that it’s important to speak to our significant others in their language, too. Words? That’s my thing. And Craig loved this gift. But I can’t help but feel like I slightly missed the mark. The exercise of writing to him everyday was awesome, but instead of writing, maybe I should have told him that I loved him. Or held his hand. Or hugged him.
While this was a great gift, I now know that there are specific languages that we must use to really connect with our husbands, our wives, our boyfriends and girlfriends… and our children. We want them to know that they matter, that we believe in them, that we hear them and respect them and love them. Am I right?
During this holiday season when everyone is shopping for others trying to buy the right thing, here’s a reminder to take a look at who you are searching for the right gift for. Chances are that gift is free. It may be quality time together or doing something forthat person, or just sitting down and holding the hand of the person you love. It might be affirming words or just the right gift that they may be shocked you remembered.
No matter what, we should gift our relationships in the language that they value the most.
Because, as they say, the holiday is about giving.
P.S. I’m a huge fan of this book. If you haven’t read it, read it. There’s a version for kids, too.