I'm a touchy-feely girl. I'd much rather give or receive a hug than a compliment.
What does that mean? Sometimes I have to work at showing respect and appreciation to my husband.
Not because I don't want to; as I said yesterday, he's incredible. It's just that my natural way of showing my love is not his favorite way of receiving it. Since I want him to be happy to receive it, I have to speak his language.
I've found a few things that help us out:
- Writing one thing on our daily kitchen calendar that I appreciate about him that day shows him the things I often forget to say. After a few days of doing this, my husband was walking in the door and heading for the calendar to see if I'd written anything for that day yet - or to check out what I wrote for the day before. He seemed to get a kick out of the little things I appreciated, like "helped bath the kids tonight" or "unloaded the dishwasher" (I hate that job!).
- One year for Christmas I typed up a list of all the things I love about him, printed it, cut it apart, and glued them to one of those funny daily calendars. I found it surprisingly easy to think of 365 great things about my husband. He never got into flipping the page every day, but for a few months, when he was having a crazy day, I'd find him sitting on our bed, reading through his calendar.
- I try to compliment my husband to my children. Our children are also both wordy people, and they talk often about what other people have going on. They might say something like, "The bushes are gone from the flowerbed." That gives me the chance to say, "Daddy's been working really hard to take the bushes out so that we can redo the flowerbed and plant new flowers. Isn't he strong?" I try to make these compliments whether he's around or not - whenever the opportunity arises - but he says that he likes it when I recognize his efforts to our children. I think he should: they need to know what a great daddy they have!
- Surprising him with words is one of my favorites. It's a bit easier for me to do, although it takes some planning, and the kids and I get a kick out of doing this together. Once I got a can of peanuts - his favorite - and opened the plastic lid. On the foil seal underneath I wrote with a Sharpie, "We're just a couple of nuts!" We left the can on his car seat while he was at work, so he found it after leaving for the day. He said that he got a good laugh out of it, and he kept that can in the car for a long time. Other times we'll drop by with a glass of his favorite iced tea with a note written on the cup or a candy bar with a message taped to it.
These are the things I've found so far that work for us. I'm always up for new ideas, though.
How do you show respect to and encourage your husband??