Let me rewind a little.
Have ever had one of those weeks where you and your partner have taken up the role of sharpening irons, but you insist that the heat needed for moulding one another has to come from marital friction and not marital bliss? We recently had one of those weeks. Bless you, if you have never had them, but in our household of two determined (read stubborn) parents and our 3 head strong (again read stubborn) children we often have moments of slight disagreements (read chaos/war).
Over the last 15 years, we have learned how to keep the peace (most days) and how to give each one enough room to express their individual personalities, within the healthy boundaries of love and respect.
But this particular week was like a freak hurricane!
The worst of all is that you could not see this storm brewing on the horizon, it was like we both woke up one day and bam: thunder and lighting, VERY, very frightening! There was no huge issue or trigger, it was just an ugly amalgamation of small things and each one seemed to be adding more and more fuel to the wrong kind of fire…
By day four I was completely confused: “how could two people who are often commended for having servant’s hearts, who genuinely love each other and others be failing this horribly at fulfilling each other’s needs?”
It is at this point that hubby did something he had not done in a while, instead of a quick peck to say goodbye he chose to give me two soft, but lingering kisses and just like that the storm was over.
I was stumped… WTH?
How can one action dissolve something as potentially ugly as this? (And why did he have to be the genius that saved the day again?)
It was not until I read an article by Katie M. McLaughline on Pick Any Two that I had realized what had happened. (Please go and read Katie’s Article for yourself. I can not think of a single person who will not be blessed by it.)
She starts off by sketching an everyday scene in her home: her husband coming home, and her placing their toddler in his arms instead of greeting him first. The article then continues to investigate the importance of warm hello’s and goodbyes. She also refers to a very helpful podcast that further looks at the reasons why positive feelings follow positive actions.
And then the penny dropped…
With new business ventures and the kids starting extra mural activities, with us concentrating so hard on trying to have the perfect family, we missed a super simple, yet essential step… we stopped paying attention to how we say hello and how we say goodbye. The importance of greeting properly is not foreign to us. Our children were taught from a young age (and are still constantly reminded) to:
- look people in the eyes when they greet them;
- take the time to greet people;
- to genuinely care about their response when you ask them how they are;
That is the way we grew up and that is what we do no matter where we go…. and yet somehow between meeting deadlines and new projectswe still slowly but surely paid less and less attention to how we greet each other.
How often does this not happen? We get so caught up in trying to fulfil the big needs, the grand gestures, the providing and then the parenting. In our case add volunteering and schooling and serving our community and the, and the, and the… and in the end it is the small things that start slipping through the cracks. This freak hurricane taught me a valuable lesson: We do not have a bad marriage and we are not horrible people, we just had to be reminded to go back to basics. We had to be reminded that a warm hello can stop a hurricane in its tracks.
So where to from here?
I am very guilty of having amazing intentions, but to not follow through unless I have a visual reminder. And for this purpose, I have set a reminder which goes off a few minutes after my alarm clock. My reminder simply reminds me of being mindful of how I say good morning to my best friend, my biggest fan, the one without whom I can not engage in this adventure called life.
I have a similar reminder set for the alarm that tells me it is cooking time. Again just reminding myself to be mindful of the way I greet him. To not bombard him with the issues that need his input, but to rather give him an opportunity to feel wanted at home. In return I too feel appreciated and loved.
What are the small changes, like this one, that has made a huge difference in your relationship? Please share them in the comments section or send them via the contact form.