Marriage is great. Marriage is fun. But honestly, if I have to ask my husband to do ________________ (you fill in the blank) one more time I may lose my mind!
Why did I make you fill in the blank? Well, no one answer works across all marriages. In this case one size does not fit all.
That being said, when I work with couples I am always excited when they come to me after only a few sessions and say things like “He went shopping on his way home from work”, “She took the recycle stuff up to the recycle center for me”, “He cooked dinner when I was sick with the flu,” “She balanced the checkbook when I got too busy and let it go.”
We all have our specific roles that we fall into. I usually mow the lawn and my husband usually cleans the bathrooms. I cook more often than he does and he used to volunteer at my son’s speedskating meets more than I did. Falling into roles that suit us well is what a marriage is all about. However, I can see where he would be excited if I took the toilet brush to the “throne” once in a while and I am always thrilled when I see that he replaced the worn tires on my racing bicycle or brought home a flat of flowers to help me plant in the front yard.
What makes a marriage delicious and special are the innumerable things we do for each other every day. The small things add up to some rather spectacular moments. When we do little things for the other person like drawing a bath, bringing home their favorite chocolate bar, dropping off a return to the UPS store for them, or picking up the dry cleaning, you will see and understand what truly separates you from the countless marriages out there that are just doing the bare minimum to make it through the day.
The secret sauce lies in never expecting any special treatment or thank you in return. What? That stinks! The moment you perform tasks just for the praise, or just so that he owes you one, you will have lost the meaning of the moment. Believe me, when you go above and beyond the call of duty you will receive the love and adoration you (and I) crave from a healthy marriage.
So in the spirit of giving freely, here are some things you can try to do without being asked. Feel free to add to the list, create your own, and most of all please share in the comments what you have done.
- Get that rototiller going for her garden
- Fire up that grill
- Buy that specialty coffee you know he likes
- Have the coffee maker set up and filled before he awakens
- Take out the trash
- Remember her favorite meal and prepare it
- Weed that front yard
- Clean the cat littler box before it starts to smell
- Get that quart of milk on the way home from work when you see it has run low
- Turn the TV off and make eye contact
- Place an “I love you” note somewhere random for her to find
- Go to bed on time so that you do not wake him clomping in after a Netflix binge-watch
- Pick out a new shirt (underwear, pants etc…) for him just because you know he will look great in that color.
- Speak highly of your partner when he is not there to hear it. It will come back to both of you somehow.
Finally, always remember that marriages are not a 50-50% contract. They are a covenant of love that should last a lifetime. May yours be blessed for many years to come.