The longer I’m married, the harder I have to work at it. Familiarity, busyness, independence and selfishness all crowd in and turn me into a routine-driven checklist-making wife instead of a caring, thoughtful one! Marriage isn’t like a good housekeeping routine that can be put on auto-pilot. It takes hard work and constant intention.
Several weeks ago I started asking this question on Sunday nights: “How can I help you?” The first time I asked, Paul looked at me quizzically and said, “I don’t think I need anything??”
Isn’t that how a lot of us live life as married people? Paul and I both get stuck in the mindset of “You do your stuff, I’ll do my stuff and we’ll meet up eventually to talk about how tired we are.”
The next week I was ready with a suggestion. When I said “How can I help you?” I was ready to suggest a few things I thought he might need taken care of that week. He agreed and said thanks.
The following week we went through the same routine. I asked, he shrugged, I offered and then he agreed. And then he said, “How can I help you?” I’m not going to lie – that was wasn’t my only goal in starting this routine, but I was hoping he would ask! 🙂
But here’s the thing: as I’ve continued to ask that question, I’ve realized that I don’t have to hear an answer to “How can I help you?” just on Sunday nights. I’ve found myself listening for his answer throughout the week and even looking for ways that I can help without being asked.
Do you need me to bring you lunch? Can I take the car to have the oil changed on Friday? Would it help if I made that appointment for you?
In doing some of “his” stuff and asking for help with “my” stuff, it makes life feel more like team work and less like an endless to-do list. It makes me more aware of ways I can lighten his load and it makes me more appreciative when he lightens mine.
If you don’t already do something like this, I hope you’ll start today. Ask your husband how you can help and watch it transform your own attitude!