Terry at Ornaments of Grace has a wonderful post up today about being thankful for husbands instead of counting up things they should be doing. You can read the post here: Tales of a Stay At Home Feminist.
I have a different perspective than Terry, since my husband and I both work outside the home. Nevertheless, I agree completely that, as a wife, I need to spend more time concentrating on how to show my husband love and support than I do making mental notes of what he owes me. As much as it pains me to admit it, I find myself actually using that phrase ("he owes...") both in my head and out loud. And it's true. Really. Why should my husband get to spend one weekend hanging out with his brother and the next weekend with friends visiting from out of town, while I'm at home desperately trying to keep my house in order and wondering if I'll ever have time to even make a friend in the area, much less go do something fun with her? By any definition, he owes me a day "off".
What's wrong with this thinking? Am I selfish to want a day to myself? No. In fact, for the sake of my marriage and my daughter, I need to have a break, and not just every once in a while. Sheila has some great insight into this in her post today at To Love, Honor and Vacuum . What's wrong is that the thought is envious and thus, unloving. Jon was just discussing envy with me the other day. He read recently that the difference between jealousy and envy is that jealousy means you want what someone else has, while envy means you don't think you can have what someone else has so you don't want them to have it either. I know I need a break when I feel envy that my husband goes to the bathroom whenever he feels the urge (only moms understand what I'm talking about here!).
If I step back and consider for a minute, I realize that I want my husband to have time to enjoy being with friends, time to have a leisurely bath in the evening, without feeling like he is stealing some precious treasure from me. And I know that he wants me to feel loved and refreshed and rested. I have to trust that if I give him my full support and love, he's going to do the same for me. I also have to be careful to recognize that I'm running on fumes and ask, with kindness and love, for a break.
To help me keep this perspective, I've made a list of specific things I can do to show my husband I love him. Little things that serve not only to remind him of my love, but also to remind me that I want the best for him. Yesterday I gave him a pack of gum. This was a special pack of gum. I unwrapped each piece and wrapped a note around it, then replaced all the sticks in the package, so he would have 14 "Reasons you're my hero". While I was doing this, I couldn't help but smile as I chose which memories to use. Now I can't wait until he opens each piece (even though his gum chewing usually bugs me).
I hesitated to share this, because it was a special gift and memory. I'm not trying to pat myself on the back here. I just thought the example might help someone else out with ideas, so there it is. I plan on including a "daily act of kindness" to try out at home in each of my posts. Let's see what happens when we stop carefully measuring the love we hand out to make sure it's in proportion to the love we receive (as beloved Lottie from Enchanted April puts it).