Monday, November 05, 2007

small changes, big results

There was a time when it was a lot easier to sit around and complain about how awful everything and everyone else was than to actually look at myself and see what changes I needed to make. The bratty kid in me was saying, "Well, if he's gonna act like that, do that, say that then I'm gonna . . ." How immature. How destructive. Blaming my husband for what was wrong in our marriage was easier than stepping back and looking at what I was doing wrong. Because, honestly, changing him seemed to be the solution.

Looking back over the past three or four years, there are a lot of things that helped get our marriage back on track. But when I finally decided that I needed to change and started doing the things I knew I should do, then he started to change and our marriage began to slowly become what I had always wanted it to be. Now, it wasn't an 'I'm gonna do this and that and then he'll do this and that.' It was just that it finally dawned on me that I was wrong. (Honey, you now have this in writing.) I was wrong about how I was acting and how I was thinking.

And it wasn't just determining not to, for instance, yell at him and throw my little tantrums when I was upset about something. No, it was also the little things. As a matter of fact, that's how I actually started my personal changes, because they were the easier things to start with. And to be really honest, at first I just did them because I felt it was the right thing to do. After a while they became things I wanted to do. Which led to other things I wanted to change about myself and how to show my husband that I love him and want to be married to him.

So, here's some practical, tangible ways I started loving my husband:

Bring him coffee in the morning - This was so simple, I couldn't believe I had never done this before. I always get up earlier than anyone else, so I usually make the coffee. But one morning I decided to bring his coffee to him. I think he was actually shocked.

Pack his lunch - My husband has nearly always taken his lunch to work. Me, not so much. But when I determined to start eating healthier, bringing my lunch seemed to be the best way to do that. And since I was making my lunch, it just seemed natural to go ahead and make his lunch too.

Greet him in the morning and after work with a kiss and a smile - This is probably the hardest thing for me to do. Not because I don't want to, but because I have a one-track mind. I mean, I get up in the morning, make coffee, take the dog out, make sure she has food and water, water the plants, get ready for work . . . I'm just trying to make sure I don't forget anything before I leave the house. And when I get home it's everything in reverse before going to bed. So making myself stop and purposefully greet my husband with a kiss and a smile, slows me down enough to let him know he is important to me.

Say 'I love you' whenever - I used to do this all the time, but somehow the 'I love yous' dwindled down to nothing. I missed them and I missed telling him. At first I didn't get a response and I would have to remind myself I wasn't saying it to get a response, I was saying it because I want him to know that I love him.

Give him a kiss goodnight, before going to bed - I don't know why this was so hard for me to do. Oh, yes I do. Most of the time I was mad and tired, so I'd just go to bed. I wouldn't say goodnight or tell him I was even going to bed, I would just go. I think it was one of the littlest things that made the biggest impact on our marriage. Now, sometimes I'm so tired I have been in bed and comfortable for a couple of minutes, then realize I haven't kissed him good night. So I get up, go into the front room where he's watching tv and kiss him good night. Because, for whatever reason, it keeps us connected.

Sometimes I forget to do these things, but for the most part I do them. It still amazes me how things so small could make such a big impact, but they have. And I am constanly re-evaluating the big changes I have made so that I never again become that bratty immature person I used to be.


Anonymous said...

I keep thinking this is such a great post and I want to comment on it, and then I realize I can't think of anything to say. It is like you said all that needed to be said here (at least for me).

Biscuit said...

I could learn a lot from this. We are going through some very hard times, my fault.

FTN said...

What great little things to do! I think that we, as guys (and all spouses in general, really), like is when someone makes an effort. All the things you listed show someone making a real effort to show love and affection, and that's hugely important.

Desmond Jones said...

Hi Phyllis

This really is a great post. And not so much for the specific things you're doing, but that you're making the effort. To go out of yourself, and give your love to your husband.

Marriage really sings when both of you are just 'all in' for the other, and that's really how it's meant to be. Marriage isn't 50/50, it's 100/100.

And the things you're learning here - about changing what you can actually change (ie, yourself, not him), and just loving him as best you can (of course, it's good that he's astute enough to catch on, and respond to your love) - those things are just wonderful to see.

This is real encouragement for all married folks who come in touch with it. Thanks for this. . .

Little Town Big Life said...

Ok--point taken~!! When you stop & think, it really is easy to make little changes. And they have big impacts. Thanks for reminding me!!

And, yes, I do think that is an Okie term--you're probably going to hear alot of them from me. Not only Okie, but small town Okie!!!

Phyllis Renée said...

SM -- Thank you. There's so much I would still like to say, but I guess I will save it for another time.

Biscuit -- I'm sorry you are going through hard times, but I'm glad I could maybe help. Even being able to recognize your faults is a huge step to making things better.

FTN -- It's so simple, but I had to get over the selfish side of me first. That was the hard part.

Desmond -- Hi. Thank you. Is it possible for a marriage to "sing?" That would be way cool. Right now I think it's at a humming stage.

Little Town -- Now I tried real hard not to make it sound as though I were pointing fingers or anything, so I hope that's not how it was taken. But like I told Biscuit, I'm all about sharing ideas.

Recovering Soul said...

I'm late, as usual, but wanted to say I think these things you are doing are great. If they speak to him and show him you love him, little things can make a huge difference!