“Hey guys,” he jovially tossed back to the group he boarded with, “at least I get to sit next to a pretty girl.”
A man about my age smiled down at me, and dropped into the seat next to me on our plane bound for the East Coast.
I suppose some part of me should have been bothered, but once you turn 40 you don’t hear the term “pretty girl” tossed around much, so I just took it as a nice remark by one of those men who flirt as a pastime.
He started with the makings of small talk, but I’m not much one for conversation on airplanes, so his chattered slowed as I stuck my nose in a book.
He took up a laughing, irreverent, conversation with a colleague seated behind him, and they casually mentioned their wives as they talked about all their travel.
I wondered, does he call his wife a pretty girl? Does he come home after another week away and say, hey beautiful, I sure have missed my pretty girl?
Maybe he does.
But maybe, probably, he doesn’t.
I can say that because I don’t. I mean, of course my husband would think I was crazy if I called him pretty girl, but I sure have been traveling a lot lately, and I don’t walk in the door giving him my best megawatt smile and offering an enthusiastic connection.
The kids tackle me, as well they should, and I offer a passing kiss and assessment of the level of my exhaustion. Never mind that he’s been on the hook the past month with a demanding full time job and playing parent and a half while I complain about loud hotels and rush to take a shower.
On the road it’s all first impressions or client satisfaction, but at home it’s survival and business and barely a thanks for saving my neck this week.
I’ve shared a little about this here before, but boy, when will I get better about this?
If our husband is at the top of our priority list (if not, that should be taken up FIRST), then why do we treat him like an enemy on the days he’s our strongest ally?
How can we start to change this underbelly phenomenon? I’ve been thinking a lot about it now that I’m a week away from celebrating another wedding anniversary… Here’s what I suggest for the next seven straight days:
1. Kiss like you are still dating the second you or he walk in the door after work. I mean really kiss your man. Think about when he asked you to marry him. Remember how you kissed him after you said yes? Do that. If your kids are standing right there, all the better. Your kids need to see you still kissing like you love each other.
2. Don’t unload. You may need to tell him that you got a bad review or your girlfriend wouldn’t talk to you, but do NOT lead with that story. Wait until after dinner at least. If it was an all around hard day, then respond to the “How did your day go?” question with, Well it just got A LOT better handsome!
3. Say thank you. My house is a serious partnership. From school lunches to paying bills, he is on the hook for a huge chunk of our family responsibilities. But because he’s done it for so long, I forget to let him know how much it means to me. Start saying thanks again. Maybe your household isn’t quite as equally divided. But your husband did something to help this week. He changed the bathroom light out or took out the pail of stinky diapers or had the hard conversation with your teenager or fixed your tire. Let him know how much you appreciate him.
These are not revolutionary ideas. I’m sure a hundred people have written books about these concepts. But sometimes we just need to remember that our marriages are gathering dust, and it’s time we shined them up so they can be the featured award for a change.
Try it for seven days straight. Start a new pattern. Make this the most important thing you do this week. He is worth it. Your marriage deserves the attention.