"Gratitude that is unspoken, isn't really gratitude at all."
That was my favorite line from church this morning.
Think about that. Do you ever feel grateful, but not say it?
Yesterday, Mike and I made the 10 hour trek home to Georgia. We drove to the airport to pick up his car and that's when I remembered were out of about everything perishable. Milk. Eggs. Orange Juice. Fruit. etc. I called Mike and asked if he and Carly would quickly stop at Publix for a *few* things. He said, "Sure, text me a list and Carly and I will stop by and grab what we need."
Lilly sent him a short list of a few things and we drove on home and started unpacking the van and all the suitcases.
A little while later, I came downstairs to find the kitchen table full of bags and bags of food. I wasn't planning a full-on grocery trip in the midst of unpacking, but I was dang glad I didn't have to do it myself. At 8 o'clock on a Saturday night.
I quickly noticed that he bought 2 loaves of the wrong bread, and a different juice box flavor than what I'd normally buy. The yogurt was a brand I'd never even heard of, and let met tell you, we are brand loyal. I almost NEVER switch and if our kids sense the tiniest change in taste, their picky butts will reject it faster than you can say, "just try it." (Insert eye roll, but honestly they get that from ME!)
Rewind 5 years and you'd have heard this dialogue...
"You know we don't eat THAT yogurt! Why in the world did you buy that? And the bread. That's not the bread we eat! And who has time to put away all these groceries right now. Didn't you know I'd be unpacking???? I sent you a list. Why can't you stick to the list????? And STRAWBERRY KIWI!!! Who even drinks strawberry kiwi???? You know we like grape!"
If I could time travel, I might smack that girl! Seriously though. It's embarrassing, but it's true.
I thought MY way was the ONLY way and I thought it was okay to express my displeasure to everything the boy said and did that didn't please me. Even though he'd say, "Aren't I entitled to have thoughts and feelings and ideas too?" I still insisted on my own way.
And I'd assume the worst. I'd assume he didn't care. That he didn't pay attention. That he didn't care about me, when really, he just had DIFFERENT ideas about things.
Now I try to assume the Best. Maybe they were out of our bread. Maybe he'd tried this new yogurt and loved it. Maybe Carly asked for a different flavor. Carly loves to try new things. Maybe my idea to just grab a "few" things was a good one, but his idea to grab "several' things was an even better one.
Sometimes I still assume the worst, truth be told. My PRIDE. My EGO. My know-it-all self shows up from time to time. Oh, who am I kidding??? All the time! All the time I still *want* my way, but I'm learning some self-control and calming that fussy girl down, when I have the wits about me to do so. I REALLY have had to work hard to train myself to THINK before I SPEAK and sometimes, I just speak. Blah! All of my ugly falls right out of my mouth!
Thankfully, he's forgiving.
Last night the dialogue was different.
A simple, "Thank you SO much for shopping. I really appreciate you going after the long drive. Now I can skip a grocery trip on Sunday too."
And although I knew there was a darn good chance a couple of those items might actually go to waste with our picky-vickie kids, wasted food is far less important to me than a wasted Saturday night. Hurt feelings. An ungrateful, picky, nagging wife.
Have I mentioned that I used to worship the God of Money more than I loved people? I mean, I didn't mean to. I didn't think money was THAT important to me. But looking back, it was. (That's a whole other post, but seriously, that can keep you in a world of frustration and anger and insecurity and fear.) That I cared way too much about always getting things "right" and getting "my way" than I cared about other people's feelings, specifically Mike's.
All of that silly grocery shopping trip story to remind myself, it is possible to just be quiet and be kind. Be grateful for when people help me out. Even if they don't do things EXACTLY the way I'd thought they would. Look for the good. Be thankful for the good. Discuss the GOOD. Accept that some things don't need to be said. Especially not when you are ANGRY or ANNOYED. Especially when you didn't specify the *kind* of yogurt and bread and juice boxes that you wanted.
Mike never makes the bed the way I want it made. I'm always shocked to see the blanket on top and the top quilt in the middle. He never loads the dishwasher the way I do. Or gets the landscaping exactly the way I want it. He's far less worried about appearances and perfection than me. I could go on, but you already know. Your spouse isn't perfect either. Just as I am sure that my own list of flaws and annoyances is even LONGER than his!
Speak Gratitude. Say it. Remember to say. Be on the look out for even the tiniest things that you can be grateful for. And say it... OUT LOUD.
I appreciate you.
I am so happy that you _________________.
I love when you______________.
You make me so happy when you_____________.
Make sure that in your day, you speak more words of gratitude than criticism. Hang on to the criticism. The next time you make the list, specify! One bag of Pink Lady Apples. One box of Capri Sun GRAPE roaring waters. You can quietly remake the bed if you need to. Rearrange the dishes without making a fuss. Grab a trash bag and clean out his car instead of asking him why it looks like a trash can. (Not that I would ever SAY that!) EVEN IF you specify and he still doesn't get it "right" assume the best. High five the effort. Make the changes that you need to make without ruining everyone's day.
People are more important than anything. Being Kind is more important that being Right. Gratitude over Criticism.
GRATITUDE over CRITICISM.
I believe that a calm, peaceful, grateful home is the BEST gift you can give your spouse, your kiddos, and yourself.
I know that when I choose to speak GRATITUDE instead of Criticism, we have far more JOY in the Chaos.
Side note....Anyone know anything about blog design? The spinning swings needs to GO. But designing a blog is not my thing. If you can help, or knows someone who could help, could you send me a message? I'd love to Beautify this space a bit.