My beloved Dalton turns 29 at the end of March and I pondered the gifts I could give him. Since we’re saving almost every penny possible to afford our roof repair scheduled this May, I felt like there wasn’t a lot of money to splurge on something great or exciting.
(I’ll probably do a little grocery haul of his favorite kombucha and mochi ice creams since food is one of his love languages. 😉 )
Then it hit me … why don’t I try a whole month of being nice?
I know, I know. Most of you sweet people probably imagine me as a sweet, timid, gentle woman and in many ways you’re right.
But I am also sensitive and defensive. Especially with my dear husband. He is logic-first and straightforward. I am feelings-based and gentle speaking. He staunchly believes there is always room for improvement in all areas of life; I (a perfectionist myself) also believe there is always room for comfort and grace.
As Louisa May Alcott wrote about Jo, “A quick temper, sharp tongue, and restless spirit were always getting her into scrapes, and her life was a series of ups and downs, which were both comic and pathetic.”
I really couldn’t describe myself any better. 🙂
Anyway, I decided that for everyday of the month I would choose to be what I always wanted to be — a peacemaker, a helpmeet, a courteous and gracious friend.
And let me tell you, just choosing to behave better has made everything better.
I feel better because I already know that today, I am going to be my husband’s best friend. Naturally, I’m setting aside time for him first instead of giving him the last bit of myself at the end of the day when I’m exhausted and irritable.
I feel happier because I’ve already chosen to believe the best, see the best, and speak the best into his life.
I’m choosing to stop the (small) habit of nagging I had started to develop. I’m working on not being easily offended and to enjoy his playful teasing. I’m making effort to be more patient with his faults and to pray for him more often. And I’m taking the time to give him preferential treatment and the best of my time and energy.
Sad to say, it’s like I’m a newly wed all over again and all the frustrations, hurt feelings, exhaustion, and hardships that made me more prone to irritability are more easily put in their place. I don’t need to be a cranky wife. I don’t have to an irritable, defensive grouch.
I’m happier because I’m choosing to live the way I should and God always blesses us when we choose to follow His ways over our own feelings.
The plus side is that my husband already noticed. The first time I offered to rub his feet instead of waiting for him to ask, he gave me a huge smile and said, “wow, that’s nice!” He acted like a happy little king and ever since then we’ve had more fun in the last week than we had in a long while.
I know that’s sad to say but it’s the truth — marriage is wonderful but it can also be hard. We’ve been through a lot in our nearly 7 years of marriage; we’ve experienced great hardship and stress. We don’t get to have dates anymore or go on trips. Everything fun has sort of been on the backburner.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a blast while we wade through this season of life, now does it?
I know it sounds so simple, almost idiotic. Be nice to my husband? That’s so obvious. Of course it is but sometimes you just need to start fresh.
I promise the reward of having my husband laugh more often, be more attentive and helpful, patient and less critical has been worth the effort. It’s like I can see him relaxing as he realizes that he’s not going to come home to a distressed, irritated, easily offended wife.
We’re both reaping the rewards of his birthday gift. 😉 I think I’ll keep the challenge going even after his birthday.