My running schedule has been light, but consistent- usually 1-2 days a week. I feel good about that and am enjoying the time I find to run more and more. Part of this is surely that I’m getting more comfortable just zoning out and listening to nothing but the thoughts in my head. However, there are still times that I need a little something more for my brain to focus on. In those cases, I turn to podcasts. Recently I was listening to Rise Together, a podcast done by Rachel Hollis (author of Girl, Wash Your Face and the newer Girl, Stop Apologizing) and her husband, Dave. In this particular episode Rachel shared the 5 ways that she shows up in their marriage for Dave.
It got me thinking about my own marriage and what I’ve learned along our journey. While there are a lot of things I’d love to discuss about marriage (it’s one of my favorite topics and I love sharing peeks into my own marriage), I was inspired to narrow in on this singular topic and share three ways I’ve learned (often through trial and error) to show up for David. I would love for him to share his perspective on this too, like Rachel’s husband did, but for now, here is my side and my take on three ways to show up for your spouse.
ONE: Tell them you appreciate them.
Aren’t we all apt to take the little things for granted? I know I am. I used to have a habit of mentally keeping score to see who was doing more. I always won (no, it wasn’t skewed at all thankyouverymuch). And what did that win me? Not a darn thing. Well, maybe some resentment.
Then I asked myself- would I rather win this “who does more” war? Or would I rather be happy? Spoiler alert: happy won. I know I married a hard working man, so why should I waste time trying to quantify and compare our daily tasks? I found once I started noticing what he did do instead of always searching for what he didn’t do, life got sweeter. Suddenly all those things I was taking for granted became more apparent.
Thanks for depositing those checks. Thanks for driving when we travel. Thanks for rubbing my feet when we watched that show. Thank you for not complaining when I made you eat quinoa and roasted vegetables for the second night in a row. Thank you for changing the air filters. Thank you for fixing the sprinklers. Thank you for all you do that I sometimes forget to notice.
I found that when I start with gratitude without an expectation of being praised in return, it makes for a happier marriage for both of us.
TWO: Do what you can for them.
I make David breakfast most mornings. If I don’t make it, I made sure there is something he can easily grab. He is a grown man and very capable of making his own breakfast, but that’s not the point. I like to think of it as a little way that I can start his day off by saying I love you. Is this right for everyone? No! Sometimes it is the other way around. When I was growing up, my dad would make my mom coffee and bring it to her while she was getting ready in the morning. What a beautiful way to start off the day by saying hey, I love you!
Maybe it’s making their coffee, doing the one task you know they despise, picking up their favorite item when you see it at the grocery store, restocking their toiletries when you see they are running low, scratching their back while watching a TV show, or taking the car in for the oil change. This may be the most appreciated by those with an acts of service love language, but I’d argue that we all like to feel a little taken care of sometimes.
THREE: Let go of the small stuff.
(should I go ahead and add in the “and it’s all small stuff” part?). We all get frustrated by work, or lack of sleep, over an over-scheduled week and it’s perfectly normal to not always be our brightest and shiniest selves. But when I catch myself being snippy about stupid things (IE: ugh… you left your empty La Croix can on the living room table again? Seriously, the hamper is RIGHT THERE, why can’t you get your shirt in it?), I give myself a gut check. Does this really matter? Usually the answer is no.
That’s not to say to never speak up, but I find if something really drives me crazy, it’s usually not best addressed when I’m feeling ticked off about said thing. So instead, I bring it up during a neutral time when it’s more likely not to be wrapped in sarcasm and accusatory tones.
As I was typing some of this, a nagging voice in the back of my head said “brace yourself for 1950’s housewife backlash.” So let me share something: I am ALL about woman power. I’m raising two GIRLS for goodness sake and I want them to know they can be and do anything that lights them up inside. But treating your husband well isn’t anti-feminism. Just like a husband honoring and supporting his wife isn’t anti-masculine. It’s about loving the people you love, and doing it well, and there is no shame in that, just a lot more happiness all around.
Bonus! – Take care of you.
I’m going to lay a little truth on you that you’ve never heard before. Ready? … You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Yup, just sit for a second and let that BRAND NEW PHRASE soak in. Jokes aside, it’s so true, isn’t it? I used to try and make small sacrifices that David never even saw as sacrifices (LOL). Truly, I’d save $2 at the grocery store by not buying pre-cut veggies then get ticked when he wasn’t appreciative that I saved money by spending an extra 30 minutes of my life chopping up a butternut squash.
Y’all, that’s just silly. 9 years into marriage I’ve learned that what David wants the most? A HAPPY WIFE. Happy wife; happy life. It’s true. So now I take the little shortcuts when I can and I treat myself well because when all is well with my soul, it naturally overflows into our marriage.
I love blog posts and podcasts and books that make me think and evaluate my own life. I am constantly striving to live better and I find that is only accomplished by being willing to explore my own shortcomings and strengths in various life circumstances. As my dad always says- the unexamined life is not worth living. OK, it might have originally been said by Socrates, but I’m pretty sure my dad made is famous 😉
Share with me!
What strengths do you bring to your relationship?
Where do you struggle?
In what ways to show up in your marriage?