Active Gratitude

I’ll just come right out and say it. I loathe doing the dishes. I’m not entirely sure if I can say the word “hate” but my feelings towards soaking my fingers into soapy water until they are pruney flirts with the hatred line. Unfortunately, my husband and I both dislike doing the dishes, so it’s a necessary evil we tackle together. The other chores, thankfully, we neatly divided. I do the mountains of laundry and the majority of the cooking, though he is on this week’s menu to make me some adobo, which I love, and he does the vacuuming, cleans the two cat litter boxes, and trash/recycling.

Our “assigned” chores are mostly seamless, helping us do a well rehearsed waltz around our apartment every week, but it’s far from being unworthy of praise. Whether or not we feel like it’s our “job”, we both make an effort to say more than thank you, but instead an “I appreciate you”.  Admittedly, it would be much easier to say this is your job and this is my job, so therefore it’s what we both are supposed to do and leave it at that.

While dividing workload up helps, a genuine “I appreciate you” goes a long way. It communicates more than a “thanks” or “thank you”, which is language we would use for many situations, even in the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A; however, the word “appreciate” conveys that you value what they’ve done and hold their person in high regard.In order to build a home and family which expresses appreciation for and to each other, you first must build an atmosphere of praise. For many of us, being selfish is effortless. It does not take special training or practice to think of yourself and your own needs.

Gratitude, on the other hand, takes an active word to action or recognize another person.

So, when I notice he’s not only taken out the trash but also taken the extra step to empty out the waste basket in both bathrooms, I’m going to purposely acknowledge it – not just hope he knows how I feel and let my appreciation for him fade into the unspoken daily routines. I need him to know I value him.

“Thank you. I appreciate you. I noticed.”

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