Friday, January 8, 2010

My Advice: The Best Habit to Relearn

A photograph of a wedding license from 1883.Image via Wikipedia

I have been married for 11 going on 12 years now. A lot of the things I did when I was dating have, well, flown out the window a long time ago. If you have been married for as long I as I have (or longer) you know what I mean. I am no longer trying so hard to be the "perfect" woman and really enjoy that I can relax and just be myself, in all my human glory. Need I say more?

But I also noticed that I have become lax in some other areas that maybe I shouldn't be. After 10 years, it's easy to start taking your partner for granted. It's easy to get sidetracked and focus on all your spouse's faults and failings; the wise ones say familiarity breeds contempt after all.

It's easy to forget to say those simple, little, magic words when making a request of your spouse. Those small, little words that are such powerful social lubricants. Have you guessed what I am talking about?

I am referring to the words 'Please' and 'Thank You.'

So I am conducting an experiment to see if consistently saying "Please' and 'Thank You' has an impact on my relationship with my husband. During this next year, I am going to make sure that I add a 'Please' to each request and a 'Thank You' whenever he completes the task. I want to see if 'Please' and 'Thank You" can make a real difference.

I know that my hubby regrets my loss of independence and my increased reliance on his help to get things done now that I am disabled. While I have been learning to live my best life with chronic illness, he has been learning to accept that he is married to a chronically ill wife. Overall, I consider myself very lucky to be married to a man who has done a very solid job of coping with change in his life. I just want to see if I can make this new reality a bit more bearable and pleasant for him.

I haven't come right out and told him what I am doing. I don't intent to make a big fuss over this. I just jumped right in at the beginning of the year and I have been watching to see if he responds and starts acting differently. I mention this today because in the past seven days I have already started to see a difference. He seems more willing to help and less annoyed, more responsive and less peevish.

So if you read this, please don't tip my husband off. Eventually I will tell him what I am doing ... or not. Maybe I'll just let him enjoy this little difference in his wife that makes him feel better about helping her out.

Why don't you join me in this experiment? Let me know what you discover when you redouble your efforts to include 'Please" and 'Thank You" in your vocabulary.

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