Do you ever feel unappreciated?
All that stuff you do, day in and day out, and no one knows the level of effort and work you’re putting in. Does anyone even notice? Oh yeah, if it doesn’t get done then someone might notice!!
I know that’s how I feel some days. I can feel that way in my marriage. And guess what? Joe feels it too!
It’s easy to forget saying “thank you” for the little things your spouse does for you. And then after you stop saying thank you, that slides into not even noticing anymore. We get wrapped up in our own little world where it’s only our own work and efforts and good behavior we notice and not the people in front of us.
So how do you create an atmosphere of gratitude in your marriage?
Say “thank you” to your spouse!
Okay, that night have been a little obvious. But really, it never hurts and you can’t say it too much! Thank him for the small favors and the big sacrifices. Look him in the eye and mean it. It’s tempting to assume your spouse knows you’re thankful. And he may know. But it still is nice to hear those two small words!
Besides just saying it out loud, find creative ways to say “thank you”. A handwritten note always makes a big difference. Wait, a thank-you note to spouse? Yes! Why not? Leave it where he will find it or mail it his work address!
Then of course these days, a short- or long- text also does the job in letting your spouse know you’re thinking of him and appreciate him. Be specific about what he did that made a difference. Add in the details!
Even more powerful: Say thank you and mention what you appreciate about him when others are around. It doesn’t need to be prepared speech but a heartfelt compliment that makes your husband or wife feel special and appreciated.
Then there’s the gratitude that takes a little more effort: Go out of your way to find what areas you haven’t said thank you for.
There’s probably something your spouse has been doing for a long long time and you’ve never noticed. Notice and say thank you for something you don’t usually say thank you for. We all have work we do that may seem invisible to others.
A lot of gratitude can be considered reactive: your spouse gives you a gift, does a favor, pays you a compliment, you say thank you. But gratitude is even more powerful is when it’s proactive: looking for things to be thankful for.
Joe has become really good at taking care of homeowner stuff over the years. He probably wouldn’t consider himself handy but he has always been willing to learn, tinker with things, learn from YouTube videos and consult friends who do know what they’re doing. There were many years that that work was invisible to me- somehow things just always worked when I turned them on. I didn’t fully appreciate how much time and energy went into these things because I wasn’t the one doing them.
I’ve been working on saying more than just “thank you” when he does fix that sink problem: I let him know I appreciate his diligence, his sacrifice, his creativity in solving whatever plumbing problem is plaguing us. I see the extra work he put in to save us money. And that I really appreciate him always being on top of things so that I don’t have to be inconvenienced longer than necessary.
Appreciating someone is more comprehensive than just saying thank you for one kind deed. It’s being thankful for who they are. It’s like when we praise and thank God for the good things in our lives. We don’t just tell God thank you for this and that, we tell him we are thankful for who He is!
Show appreciation for who your spouse is. That he has value, and not just when he’s doing nice things for you. Not being self-centered but being other centered. Finding the good in others and telling them so! I appreciate you.
Continue to serve your spouse whether or not you are feeling appreciated.
True service is helping others expecting nothing in return. There will be many times we sacrifice or do a good deed without ever getting noticed. Yeah, that stinks. Colossians 3 talks about doing everything we do as unto the Lord- He is the one we are serving and He knows and delights in our service. If we are serving only to be noticed and appreciated, then we’re serving for the wrong reasons. As I seek to serve Him and notice others more than myself, then being appreciated is a truly a nice surprise rather than a prerequisite to happiness.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.