I am so excited. I don’t think you quite understand how excited I am. Why? The husband has been amazing today and put up both our wall mount for the TV and my precious 2′ by 3 1/2′ mirror. I finally feel like we’re moved into the place. I suppose it really does take three months to be completely moved in. My only issue currently? My stupid choice to remove a 24″ by 36″ picture off the wall to show the husband where the previous family put their wall mount. I am too annoyed at the cheapo hanging clip to bother with it right now. Seriously, how hard is it to make one of those that doesn’t fold flat the moment it touches the tack?
Anyway, I am so excited. Rather, I am thankful. I, as a power tool challenged person, could not have put them up myself. Note, it isn’t because I’m female or blonde. I am just… challenged. And having a hands-on hubby who excels at all things manly is awesome. There’s just one catch. I never used to thank him.
Ladies, I didn’t realize how massive just saying “Thank you” to our men really is. In my superior female mentality (sarcasm), I just assumed that he could tell from my beaming smile as I step in nanoseconds after he hangs it, rag in hand to clean my precious mirror. I mean, come on. How hard is it to guess that I’m thankful? I couldn’t have done it. And Lord knows, I’ve asked for long enough. He should just know that I’m thankful to him.
Alas, men are not always as intuitive as we ladies are. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’re often not as intuitive as we like to think we are. Men, especially, though. They aren’t mind readers. They aren’t built to thrive on relationally connecting and emotionally bonding. After all, if they were, we’d be too busy discussing the latest KDrama to hang anything other than our heads in shame.
Men need us women to cut the “intuitive” crap and tell them what we assume they know. “Thank you for putting the mirror up. I love how it lights up the room.” Or here’s a kicker I always forgot, and still struggle to remember: “Thank you for providing for us.” Especially if you’re a working wife/girlfriend, too, this one is big. Don’t fall into the trap I did of thinking, “Well, it’s equal. He could say thank you to me, too, and then I’d say it to him.” Nuh-uh, ladies. That’s not the way it works. As your mama said, “The world ain’t fair.” Neither are relationships. If my husband were to tell me, “Thanks so much for working. It means a lot,” I’d probably smile, nod, and feel a little ball of warmth. And then I’d move on to the myriad of other things I also have to do. For a man, though, recognizing his efforts is huge. I don’t even know how huge, but I do know that my husband changes when I thank him. It energizes him. He goes from exhausted and barricaded in his office to giving bear hugs and playing with the boys. That is a huge different to me. I don’t know about your husbands, but if my sincere thank you can do that, I will say it as much as I can.
In his book Cracking the Communication Code, the sequel to the Love and Respect books, Emerson Eggerichs expounds on this. Saying “thank you” reaffirms your husband’s conquests. It says, “I see that you triumphed today. Thank you for fighting for me.” Sound dorky? Let me break it down in my favorite language: fantasy.
Imagine that your husband is a knight and you are the princess. He trains every day, fine-tuning his craft and going out into the world to slay dragons and defeat the enemy for you. He takes hits, battles fatigue and long days on the road. He holds your image in his mind, using it to power through those hard times. “I am doing this for her.” Cheesy? Maybe. Now, imagine that the knight has done all of this and has come home battered, bruised, and in need of his wife’s compassion. Instead, she is busy cooking and shouting at the children and demanding he take off his mud-caked armor before he tracks mud all across her freshly scrubbed floor. And while he’s at it, will he go wrangle the pig out of the cellar and get Junior away from the fire? All the knight wanted was a kiss, perhaps, and his princess to say, “Thank you.”
Now, before I get attacked for a chauvinistic view, let me explain. I’m not saying that the wife cater to the husband. We women do a lot, as well. Life is crazy, and sometimes our husbands will have to forgo our affections and comfort in that moment because we are losing our minds. Example? The other day I had a terrible migraine, had to cook country fried steak (LORD, why I did that, I’ll never know), had a teething baby and a stir-crazy four-year old, and couldn’t seem to do anything right. When the husband came home, I had nothing left to give him except for tears. Is that normal? No, and he knew that. He stepped in, helped with the dinner, held the baby, gave me a hug, and gave up his “me time” for the night. On an average night, though, he gets a hug and kiss just for him the moment he comes in. I also give my husband between 30 minutes and an hour when he first comes home to be by himself and relax. The boys are not allowed near his office, and I leave him alone unless I must talk to him. After that time, I expect him to come and be a part of the family. Does he? Nine times out of ten, yes. Did he used to? No. But I also used to great him just like that princess greeted the knight: dismissing his efforts and denying him comfort.
If you don’t believe me, try this experiment. Without mentioning your plans to your husband, start leaving him little thank you notes. Send a text in the middle of the day, leave a sticky note on his computer or tv, or my favorite, write a note on the bathroom mirror in dry-erase marker. Do this for two weeks, as well as giving him a huge just-for-him hug when he gets home (or whenever you first see each other at the end of the day). Then, don’t do it for a few days. See if there’s a difference.
Women, “thank you” for us is another phrase. We accept it demurely and move on. For men, it is their energy. It tells them, “Good job. I appreciate you.” It validates their efforts and gives them strength to get up the next day and tackle the world. The power of “thank you” is so often overlooked. Don’t miss out on this. In your life and your marriage, it’s almost a super power. Don’t be the princess who gets caught up in her own world. Be the princess who brings her knight into it, giving him the credit he’s due.