I stopped doing this one little thing every day… And it Strengthened my Marriage

Coming Home

This post originally appeared on Aleteia

 

Imagine the scene: It’s night. I’m writing an article, doing some online shopping, or maybe I’m cooking a pot of soup for another day. It’s so late! I’m tired, and angry that I didn’t have time to do all the things I had planned during the day, at a “normal” time. I’m upset, I’m angry, and I’m looking for the guilty party. And who could be guiltier than my husband?

He’s late again ...

After all, if he had come home from work at a decent time, I would have had it all done. But instead of the sound of a key in the door, I heard the sound of a text message: “I’ll be home late tonight, don’t wait up.” As the owner of his own company, he is not bound by standard office hours or by a limit of hours per week. Instead of eight hours a day, he works as much as he needs to.

So, when I hear footsteps in the hallway and see the hour, I want to have a serious fight, or at least show him an offended face, and hit him with a verbal list of grievances about him not caring about his health, and not having time for the family, not to mention me. And that is exactly what I used to do, up until the day things changed.

Transformation

One day, in a creative frenzy, I was working on a fantastic (in my opinion) surprise for the kids. I was so into it, I didn’t even notice the time. Around 1 a.m., still in a fantastic mood, I welcomed my husband home with a radiant smile, lifting my eyes from my work.

One glance at him was enough to completely catch my attention, and even dim slightly my amazing mood. I saw my husband change completely, and it shocked me. As I watched, his tight muscles relaxed, and his somber expression was replaced by a sigh of relief and words of gratitude.

A new rule

Wow, what just happened? My husband is thanking me for not greeting him with angry comments — a clear sign that something has to change. “Starting today, we greet each other at the door with a smile!” I decided, already in the mood for a change, since it was the beginning of Advent (last year). We made this a house rule: when someone returns home, everyone at home greets him or her at the door with hugs and kisses.

 

 

Pure joy

We do not overwhelm each other with important things, chores or difficulties in that first moment. It’s important to share everything, but we’ll have time for it later — not in the rush of taking coats off and washing hands.

This first moment of coming home should be pure joy: the joy of seeing each other and being together again. The returnee gets a quick burst of information — that you’re loved, you’re wanted, and we’re happy you’re here. For the kids, it’s nothing new. If they are not asleep, they always run with enthusiastic squeals of “Daaaaaaddy” and, depending on their age, right at the doorstep they jump on his neck or cling to his legs. And my husband and I? It’s been a year since we made this a house rule. I admit that sometimes the welcoming smile looks more like a sour grin, but we keep doing it. We are sticking to our decision because we know how much good comes out of it.

It seems such a small change, but it became a big thing. We didn’t completely stop spatting and quarreling, but our home became a different place, more calm and protective. Simply, it is now one we like to come back to, because we know we are always welcome there. Consequently, we come back happier, sometimes even at an earlier time.

 

 

 

Photos by George Becker, rawpixel.com and Pixabay  from Pexels

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 0 0

Does Nagging Work…?

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From the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman

 

Several years ago, I was sitting in my office with my door open. A lady walking down the hall said, “Have you got a minute?”
“Sure, come in.”.
She sat down and said, “Dr. Chapman, I’ve got a problem. I can’t get my husband to paint our bedroom. I have been after him for nine months. I have tried everything I know, and I can’t get him to paint it.”
My first thought was, Lady, you are at the wrong place. I am not a paint contractor. But I said, “Tell me about it.”
She said, “Well, last Saturday was a good example. You remember how pretty it was? Do you know what my husband did all day long? He washed and waxed the car.”
“So what did you do?”
“I went out there and said, ‘Bob, I don’t understand you. Today would have been a perfect day to paint the bedroom, and here you are washing and waxing the car.'”
“So did he paint the bedroom?” I inquired.
“No. It’s still not painted. I don’t know what to do.”
“Let me ask you a question,” I said. “Are you opposed to clean, waxed cars?”
“No, but I want the bedroom painted.”
“Are you certain that your husband knows that you want the bedroom painted?”
“I know he does, ” she said. “I have been after him for nine months.”
“Let me ask you one more question. Does your husband ever do anything good?”
“Like what?”
“Oh, like taking the garbage out, or getting bugs off the windshield of the car you drive, or putting gas in the car, or paying the electric bill, or hanging up his coat?”
“Yes,” she said, “he does some of those things.”
“Then I have two suggestions. One, don’t ever mention painting the bedroom again.” I repeated, “Don’t ever mention it again.”
“I don’t see how that’s going to help,” she said.
“Look, you just told me that he knows that you want the bedroom painted. You don’t have to tell him anymore. He already knows. The second suggestion I have is that the next time your husband does anything good, give him a verbal compliment. If he takes the garbage out, say, ‘Bob, I want you to know that I really appreciate your taking the garbage out.’ Don’t say, ‘About time you took the garbage out. The flies were going to carry it out for you.’ If you see him paying the electric bill, put your hand on his shoulder and say, ‘Bob, I really appreciate your paying the electric bill. I hear there are husbands who don’t do that, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.’ Every time he does anything good, give him a verbal compliment.”
“I don’t see how that’s going to get the bedroom painted.”
I said, “You asked for my advice. You have it. It’s free.”
She wasn’t very happy with me when she left.
Three weeks later, however, she came back and said, “It worked!”

She had learned that verbal compliments are far greater motivators than nagging words.

 

Nagging Spouses by Post Memes is licensed under  CC by 2.o text cropped by me

Saturday, April 25, 2015 0 0