My husband always gets me a plate out of the cabinet before we eat dinner. It’s a thoughtful thing he does as we begin to serve our prepared meal. He pulls out plates for himself, me and our two children.
I never used to get a plate out for him. I always took out the children’s smaller plates first, then helped them serve their food. By the time I went to get larger plates for my husband and I, he already would have done it.
Now I get all four plates out at once.
Paying attention to the little kind things others do for you is something I learned from reading the book Making Marriage Simple by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.
It’s the little things that others (your spouse, specifically) do for you that they probably hope you will mirror.
I don’t know if Jeff noticed that I’ve started getting him out a plate. It honestly doesn’t matter if he’s noticed because I feel better lending him a small courtesy that he gives me.
Here’s a simple truth in life—relationships aren’t simple. Sure, some of them are easier to foster and maintain than others, but none of them are simple.
Relationships aren’t simple because people are complex. We have histories, emotions, desires, dreams, plans, etc. Sometimes these are in sync. Other times they conflict. That’s just life.
Overall, Jeff and I have a really good marriage. We’ve been married for almost 14 years. We dated for almost six years before we got married. Twenty years means we must be doing something right.
But our marriage is not perfect, nor is it simple. That’s why I decided to read Making Marriage Simple. I figure a self-help book is worth reading if you take even one morsel of helpful information from it.
While I didn’t get a ton of advice from the book, which was written by people much older than us with more traditional values, I took away little tips like the one above.
Another thing I learned, which I also implemented, is telling Jeff every day something he did that I appreciate.
The book suggests telling each other three such things each night, but I’ve tried to work one thing into regular conversation.
I also have attempted, as the book advises, not to repeat any of my appreciations.
For example, one night Jeff seemed a bit taken aback when I told him how much I loved the sweet text message he sent me earlier that day. Interestingly, guess who has received many more sweet texts since? This girl!
Another day I told him how much I appreciated him driving our daughter to basketball practice.
On a different day, I told him how I love that the first thing I smell in the morning is his cologne when he kisses me good-bye before leaving for work.
I don’t know if Jeff has noticed the trend of my comments of appreciation, but I have noticed how pleased he looks when I praise him in this way. It makes me happy too. That alone makes the book worth reading.
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