Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Husband Gratitude List

I have a husband gratitude list.  Before you start making gagging sounds in your head or stop reading, listen to how it all came about.  It's not as nauseating as it sounds, I promise.

It wasn't something suggested to me in premarital counseling or at a marriage retreat.  It wasn't an idea from a self-help book or anything like that.  I started my husband gratitude list to gather facts.  And it wasn't even a husband gratitude list when it was started.

When it began, it was a list of compliments Zac gave me because I had a way of hearing his compliments and quickly forgetting them, which led me to believe the lie in my head that he didn't appreciate me or compliment me.  Ever.  You can see why this could be slightly irritating and frustrating to both of us.

I began to document the nice things he said to me so I could see the facts that he DOES say nice things about me and he DOES appreciate me.  It also served as a pick-me up when I was feeling down; I'd take my book and remember how deeply I was loved.

What surprised me about this gratitude list is how it transformed over the course of a few months.  It went from being a list of compliments about me to being a list of qualities I appreciate about Zac.  It happened so smoothly, so seamlessly, that it's hard to pinpoint the change if you read it straight through from beginning to end.  Only in excerpts is it apparent.

For example, a few of the first few entries read:
"He thanked me for the work I am doing to teach Feven letters and numbers."
"He thanked me for the yummy grilled cheese."
"He thanked me for the dedication I have to our family to run all those errands last night."

More recently, the entries read:
"He didn't protest once that we had company on his morning off - he is flexible and gracious."
"He took the time the last two nights when he was gone for work to call and talk to me.  The first night we talked for an hour and last night, even though he was tired, we talked for 45 minutes.  He is devoted."
"He helped me compose a difficult email and spoke truth to me in a way which told me he had been listening to me process the things I've been learning the last few weeks."

When I began, I just wrote down the things he said, word for word.  I am a deeply analytical person, so it didn't take long for me to begin seeing what he said and wondering why he said those things.  And then I moved on to observing his actions and looking for the heart behind them.

It was in this analyzing that I shifted from the words and actions to the character qualities those words and actions represented.  The list became a powerful testament to his character.  I got it in my head that I wanted to share this list with him.  I wanted him to know the good things I saw in him.  I decided to read the list to him the other night and he was surprised to hear some of the items there.  He didn't know how much certain things meant to me, or that they were even noticed.  It was special for both of us to look at that list together.

I'm grateful for the way it has shaped the way I interpret Zac's words and actions and the way it has strengthened our relationship. 

No comments:

Post a Comment