I know… you were thinking of the obvious three words that can improve a marriage right? “I love you” is definitely at the top of the list for marriage boosters but there are others. This one is so simple, yet seldom expressed in many marriages. The two words are “Thank You”.
I have a close married friend who shared that she and her husband decided very early in their marriage to be mindful not to treat people outside of their marriage better than they treated each other. It is interesting how we are often kinder and more polite to absolute strangers than we are to our spouses. Sometimes, it’s the simple gestures of courtesy that we often take for granted in marriage.
This article came about as I was sitting at my computer one day. I asked my husband to copy a few documents, save the file and email it to me because our home printer wasn’t operating. When I received the file, I immediately printed it out and continued to work. A little voice whispered, “Did you thank your husband?” Well, it was a simple task –part of a routine day, right? I decided to reply to his email with a “Thank you honey“. I realized that as small and insignificant as it may seem, those two words can really go a long way in marriage. I want him to know that I appreciate him for who he is and for what he does daily – not just when he remembers my birthday or buys gifts. Your spouse needs to hear those simple words of appreciation between the grand occasions.
Why? Because it makes your spouse feel appreciated and not taken for granted. It’s very disheartening to feel that you’re not appreciated in your marriage. When your efforts to actively show your spouse how much you love them are not acknowledged, it’s a potential marriage buster.
It encourages a positive response. Have you ever rewarded a child for good behavior with compliments, rewards, etc.? It works for grown-ups too! Since I’ve been more mindful of thanking my husband consistently, the dishes have been washed, the bed has been made and the bedroom floor has been cleared of toys, clothing and papers. Need I say more?
It promotes a pleasant, loving atmosphere that serves as an example for children and those around you. Whether you know it or not, your kids, family and others take a note of your behavior towards each other. Are you courteous or rude towards your spouse? Are you disrespectful with your spouse in the presence of others. You might be surprised by who’s watching and listening.
The most important thing to remember about “Thank You” is that it should naturally flow out of “I love you” and it too requires action. Sometimes, I will say thank you. I’ll text it, email it but even better- I’ll show it with a hug, kiss, gift or other gesture. I want him to know that because I love him, I want to thank him in a manner that is consistent with that love. It takes work to keep marriages strong and thriving but it’s the little things that can make the big difference. Two simple words plus two people can improve a marriage four ever. Certainly, it does require a little more but at least it’s a good start.