Saturday, March 1, 2008

Thanks for the Little Things

A couple days ago, Joe decided that the inside of a couple closets needed to be painted. Immediately. So, he emptied out these closets and painted the insides of them. Well, why not? Makes perfect sense to me. I looked around the house at all the half-finished jobs and things that really needed to be fixed. I saw chipping paint, a bathroom that was primed last year, but still hadn't been painted, a gaping hole in the threshold of the back door, a couple holes in walls, etc. I bit my tongue and realized that once again, I have no idea how the male brain works. I don't understand my husband. I don't pretend to understand him on any level. How could he look around at the house and somehow miss all the obvious things that needed repair and yet feel an overwhelming compulsion to paint the inside of a closet? How?

Getting ready for the kids' birthday party last week, Joe came home from work about 20 minutes before we had to leave and said, "What can I do to help? What needs to be done?" Now, I know he was trying to be helpful, but I was on a mission to finish Brooklyn's cake, get everything together, and hop in the shower. I knew what I needed to do and I just didn't have the time to stop and give him directions. That's how I work. It drives me batty when I have to give him instructions like one of the kids. Why doesn't he just know this stuff? Seriously, why do I have to tell him everything?

On the flip side, Joe probably thought, "What is her problem?! Why is she stomping around, looking all ticked off when I'm standing here, asking her what I can do to help? What, does she think I can read minds? All she has to do is tell me what she wants and I'll do it. I don't automatically know what her plan is."

I'm pretty sure that men and women are different species.

After the birthday party, this escalated into a full blown argument. "I did everything for this party. Everything! I booked the party place, I bought the decorations. I sent out the invitations. I ordered the food and made the cakes and bought the presents. And you don't appreciate it! You can't ever acknowledge what I do and say thank you!"

"Why should I thank you? It's just a birthday party. Do you thank me for going to work every day? Do you thank me for dumping the garbage? Do you say thanks when I change the oil in your car?"

Boy, it's easy to start taking each other for granted, isn't it? It's easy to get in the habit of thinking, why should I thank you? It's your job.
Even though the little tasks we do: doing laundry, taking out the trash, grocery shopping, making doctor's appointments for the kids, paying bills, car maintenance, etc., might be our "jobs", it doesn't hurt to acknowledge them.

And ladies, we all know our husbands aren't going to suddenly start coming home, saying things like, "Wow, that's one sparkly toilet! Good job, cleaning!" or "I really appreciate that you helped the kids with their homework tonight." But, I bet if we started telling our husbands, "Hey thanks for taking out the garbage", or "thanks for giving the kids baths tonight", they might just pick up on it and reciprocate. That's my theory anyway. And wouldn't it be better if you both hear those little "thank yous" now and then? And wouldn't it be better if you were both happy and felt good about yourselves and each other?

So thank you for changing the oil in my car and getting me iced coconut coffee today, Joe! And I love the inside of the closets! I don't know how we went so long without painting them! ;)

92 comments:

Shellie said...

Oh boy! It is just spooky how similar our husbands are! I could have written something oh so similar, except that there's more sense to painting the closet since he hasn't replaced the closet doors he took off because they fit perfectly in a client's home 10 years ago and he's never gone back to buy us new ones since then. I agree we need to be more thankful even when we don't understand how in the heck their brains work.

Shari said...

I gave up on understanding my gorilla a looooonnnnggg time ago. I am not raising a child that's adult size. He does his thing and I do mine. We get along and all, but it's pointless to ask him to do anything! It will never get done so my two oldest and I complete our honey-do list then we go out for ice cream! And, whether he likes it or not, I spend his hard-earned money on hired help sometimes on things that are impossible for me to do. I know it's giving him an "out" if that's what you want to call it, but waiting six weeks or longer for things to get done is a bit much!

Debra Nugget :) said...

Thanks for being you and making me smile

Allisha said...

AMEN Sista!
Is Joe also the type of hubby who takes the opportunity every holiday to give you the "I really do appreciate everything you do even though I never tell you any other time" card? My hubby didn't believe me when I said "Oh it's the same card that you gave me for my birthday!" So I laid all the cards out on our bed from the past year's holidays. Sure they might be slightly different but all with the same crappy message. I told him if he bought one more of those stinkin' cards...

My Semblance of Sanity said...

I am so with you on this!!! My husband told me the other day that our toilet was "worse than the one at work." but he didn't clean it. And when I did...i didn't get a thank you! :)

VanDerHoekArt said...

And don't forget, "Thank you Joe for cleaning the barf off of the covers the other night."

You're right though, about taking each other for granted. I noticed that my husband and I fight more when we're both feeling unappreciated. But if I remember to tell him what a great dad he is and praise him for working hard every day then he's nicer to me too and our house is a happier place.

Anonymous said...

Omg you were right on with this one. I can't tell you how many times I have said the same things to my DH. And thought the same things. Why oh who do they have to ask us what to do? I am already a mom to two children, I don't need a third to boss around!!

Anonymous said...

I think it was around our 10 year mark when our 3 year old told us that we were not being polite to each other. What an eye-opener he was so very right. We started using the basic please and thank you's and what a change it made in our relationship. Great thing to remind people to do. Thanks, Cyndi

Mum-me said...

Don't do it Dawn!! I tried that very same approach with my husband - thanking him for all the little things he did - and you know what? Now he does even LESS than before because I have made him believe that he is such a great guy who does all this amazing stuff for his wife. It didn't even come close to being a reciprocal thing. Then, on the other hand, your husband is probably totally different to mine and may very well pick up on the compliments and return them to you. One can only hope!

Eric said...

I'm one of the weird ones in this world. Got married when I was 32 (yes for the 1st time)and she was the one who proposed... I'd always been amazed at how married couples can get into arguments about little things. I'm not saying organising a birthday party is a small task, but in the grander scheme of things... Well anyway, I always thought that these somewhat pointless arguments were something particular to married life. Well a good two years into it and I'm still waiting for this type of arguments to start... Any sort of grace period I missed?

Anonymous said...

It all goes back to "The Golden Rule". Husbands are so easy to take for granted because Mothers are so "BUSY".

Rick said...

Thank you for writing on this blog. There I did it. Hey! I do feel better!

I'm going right now and tell my wife what a beautiful job she's done on our toilet.

Oh, what a night of passion this is going to be! Thanks!

http://organizeddoodles.blogspot.com/

majikfaerie said...

Dawn; thankyou for keeping this blog.
I've just been going through a terribly bad time the past few weeks, and the laughs I get from you have helped keep my head above water :)

Thankyou for making birthday cakes, and doing laundry, and fixing lunches, and helping with homework, and being just wonderful, in general :D

(just in case it takes Joe a whiles to get round to saying those things to you, I figured you deserve it)

http://majikfaerie.blogspot.com

Lucille said...

Wow. Are you sure you weren't at MY HOUSE and secretly tape recording me and my hubby?

I ask him to go and get a light bulb and he comes back an hour later with a door all stained. Huh? Seriously - a door! Never mind the chipped tiles, the list of things that need minor repairs.

It is their brains. We are completely wired differently from men and we should just understand it and work with what we can!

We have had that same conversation - many times. We all need a gentle reminder from time to time to just "Play nice with the other kids".

So in that spirit, I THANK YOU for blogging today and I'm glad you are better.

Lucille
www.whosgoingtotellyou.blogspot.com

plainprecious said...

Since i met my husband I have made it a point of saying thank you for things he does. When I lean over and say thank you and give him a kiss he always says whats that for. And I tell him exactly what I appreciate him for. I think it makes him feel good. I know exactly what you mean about guys doing things differently than we woman folk do. My hubby has gotten to the point where he doesnt make a move until he asks me. When I tell him I dont care just figure it out he will say OH NO you decide because I dont wanna hear about how I did it wrong. We are in the process of fixing up our house with painting and such and he refuses to pick colors because I am sooooooo picky. WE have also replaced the flooring in our bathrooms which I picked out. So....... you are not alone.

CanadianCarrie said...

This is the same argument we have in our home weekly, I've been trying very patiently to acknowledge his good deeds more in hopes he will do the same.It doesn't help that he was raised by a mother who did EVERYTHING, and wasn't appreciated as much as she should have been!
For some reason I'm singing the "Put a little love in your heart" song in my head!

jodi-mother of six said...

different species, different planets, different universe... I've never figured it out...and not sure I want to!

Becky said...

You're so right about that, Dawn. We should thank our husbands for the little things. And that was so sweet of you to thank your man publically for doing such nice things for you.

I am so much like that, not able to stop and give directions because to do so would usually take longer than the task itself (or would distract me from the last minute task at hand), but my hubby always does try and pitch in to help.

I suppose at times I do feel like my job as a SAHM is thankless, and that it would be nice to have a pat on the back from my 'boss' every now and again (for keeping things running smoothly for him on the homefront)...but on the other hand, like you once said, "Earning six figures, taking payments in kisses." I get to be here to see all the cute firsts with our kids, and when I look at it that way, that's all the 'payment' I really need.

Tismee2 said...

Today Dawn you can be an honorary Brit and have an extra 'Mother's Day'. Today (Sunday) is Mother's Day here in the UK - and let's face it with so many kids you deserve an extra one!!!!

Enjoy it!
Gail

Erin Belinda said...

Dawn I love your heartfelt posts just as much as the coffee spitting humourous ones! Tearing up over here.

Wouldn't it be nice just to have a moment each night to say "Thank you for being you, being in my life and helping create another wonderful day". I think that would be lovely.

I will definately remember that, but as for now, still being a single mother, I will continue just to tell my little one how much I love her and thank her for being here =)

cakeburnette said...

That's a lovely theory, but nope, no cigar. I, too, am married to a very large child. We have that the EXACT same argument about, oh, 1 zillion times in our 13.5 year marriage. I am fairly good at thanking others, including him and the kids and try to make sure I notice the "little" things. But still no recognition for mom. I've given up completely on him and am instead focusing on my Austin in the hopes that I can create a husband for some sweet girl who won't be a pain. Something tells me I'm fighting a losing battle.

Anonymous said...

Pick up a copy of "The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage" - L. Schlessinger. It's a good read.

Deb in OPKS said...

AAh, that's so sweet. I know just what you mean. We like to get a thank you or good job if we are working in an office, why shouldn't we expect and give one to our spouse once in a while. But, just a though, they never get those little hints so you might have to actually show him this post so he'll know you'd like to hear a thank you once in a while.

Ali A said...

I try to say thank you all the time but than he does something and it is like do you have a brain in there?

We do not have kids yet just a ton of pets. I can not wait to see what he is like when we have kids.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

If my husband did suddenly start saying things like that, I think I'd start worrying something weird was going on, like the doctor told him not to tell me I was dying of some strange disease!

And I do thank my husband for going to work, and gassing up the car, and throwing in a load of laundry, and everything else. He works all day for us, I want him to know I'm aware of that.

Michelle said...

Well, Dawn, maybe not different species but definitly a different model. I do believe though that the features we have are definitly upgrades on their models. You know the psychic ability to know what needs to be done.. (ha ha) Hang in there girl.

Michelle

One Crazy Adventure said...

It is SO true that men and women are completely different. My mother in law has always told me that you just have to tell them what to do, want you want, etc. And I am sure that she is right. They have the best relationship that I have ever seen... and they are going on 40+ years.

Brenda said...

We have all been there done that. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate each other.

Sue said...

Hey Dawn, How about I thank you and tell you how much I appreciate you because I have no idea how you run 6 little lives (7 if you include Joe) and then keep us amused every day. You rock!
Now be nice and tell us, your faithful readers, that you appreciate us too for all the thankless tasks we do every day that are unnoticable to the male eye. I honestly think that would be easier than getting my husband to notice anything other than his job, horses or big screen tv! LOL!
Thanks Dawn!

Mabunny said...

AMEN!!!!
I know my husband sometimes looks at me as if I've lost my mind when I'm on a mission. Sometimes I yell ( I'm trying hard not to do that much anymore), but I'm trying to now say out loud what I want instead of throwing a snit.
It does help to hear those little 'thank yous' now and again.
Like last night, chris had worked ALL day at his job, on his feet, he came home and was tired. I on the other hand had shopped all day with the kiddo, but I was on my feet, in and out of the car, lugging packages and such, I was tired too.
The sink was full of dishes, and I told him you aren't getting off that easy ( he was on the computer having fun)I asked him to come help me do them. I wash he dries, he agreed. But I don't think I thanked him. Maybe that will be the first thing I do this morning when he wakes up;))
Thanks for the eye opener Dawn!!

MaBunny

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post! Its good to know its not just my life that is like this. I totaly agree that men are another species! In fact at least once a week we have a situation like the one you described. I have started to think I need to make a book with laminated pages of instructions for most basic tasks in our home. Then I can just hand him one and say "do this one" and I know it will be done the way I want because its spelled out!

Julie said...

While I do agree with your post, I do want to add: Why is it when my husband does something he doesn't normally do, like the dishes, he acts like he's really accomplished something, yet when I take out the garbage/snowblow or shovel the driveway/mow the lawn (I live in Michigan, sometimes those two things are possible on the same DAY), pick my stepdaughter up from school, etc, I GET NOTHIN'?
I guess I don't mind so much, because at least when I do it, it gets done to MY specifications! LOL

Anonymous said...

Wow, you must have heard my comments in my brain! ;) LOL!!! I have the same problem. I have ready a book that has helped me to understand my husband a little better. "For Women Only". Maybe it will help.

Anita in Indiana

Robin said...

I love that you can turn an argument into something funny. That's how my hubby and I operate too. Arguments never last long because one of us makes a joke....but the point still gets made.

Why exactly DID Joe paint the closets? To brighten them up so you could see inside better? That's the only thing I could come up with.

Expat Mom said...

That is so true. We are different species, there are times when my husband does things so bizarre, I seriously can´t imagine what his thought process is!

Good point on thanking guys, though. In my experience, it isn´t necessarily reciprocated, but they do tend to do the stuff you thank them for more often without complaining! :D

peach said...

ACTUALLLLLLYYYY....quite a few years ago after one of those arguments my husband and I decided to make sure that the other DOES know they are appreciated and we do make an effort (it has slowed down some) to make sure the other knows just how much we appreciate and notice what the other does. It all started with a note that said I love you written in lipstick on the bedroom mirror...from there there is Literally writing on the walls (the unfinished walls in the bathroom and laundry area **you are not the only one living in a "work in progress") and finally we started a notebook that lives in the bathroom... well the most up to date one does... i have a drawer full of such notebooks that are full! anyway most days we leave a note to the other some days it says nothing more that "I love you" other times it may be a page full just depending on what's happening... How do you find the time you ask? well I figured we both like to try to read when on the throne so why not keep a book there do some writing then read if necessary. It works and has prevented some huge fights here.
anyway how about those beautiful painted closets:-)?

Anonymous said...

UGH! Why did you have to post that?! Now I have to THANK my husband, too!

That is SO fustrating when you have your list in your head and someone starts talking to you. "What do you want me to do?" I alway brain freeze when asked that question. A big sign starts flashing OVERLOAD OVERLOAD!

By the way, I've been reading your blog for about a month and I love it!

Barb said...

Boy parts of your post REALLY sounded familiar. Men just don't know what it takes to pull of a birthday party. We (or should I say I) just did my 9 y/o's "Pop Star Makeover" party, complete with hannah montana wigs, hired to high school girls to help with hair, make up and nails and we did some jewelry making. In his defense I did send him out to pick up the balloons and pizza and I do "try" to remember to say thank you. It does make a big difference.

kimikki said...

Amen to that! Thanks for saying it so well!

JujuBoo said...

HA! So funny! Just last week my hubby said he didn't have time to change the kitchen garbage (a 2 minute job at most) because he had to power wash the entire lanai. The garbage remained unemptied thru the entire weekend. I REFUSE to change the garbage bag. It is HIS job. When he finally did change it I said 'thanks' and he, in return, thanked me for making dinner :) And that one thank you made me forget the entire 2 days of overflowing trash in the kitchen.

Thanks for reminding us that even people who are married for years and years still like to hear thank you and still need to say it to their spouses.

Jennifer said...

So true. I told my hubby that once in a while, he needs to take over something since I work, shop, meal plan, handle medical issues/bills/issues, girl scouts for my 6 year old and make sure my son's IEP is followed. He can schdule a doc appt, fill a presription or take on a household project for me.

ophelialaughs said...

My husband and I came within inches of having this very argument just last night. He'll do almost any chore I ask him to do--although in truth, sometimes I have to ask twenty times and stand over him while he does it.

I don't care if he doesn't thank me for chores, even though I do thank him for them. (I'm so grateful I didn't have to nag!) But if I fell in the water and sank until nothing remained but the last bubbles of my breath floating on the surface, would he not save me because I failed to cry, "Help"?

'Cause sometimes I wonder. :P

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That's a really good observation. I know I work hard to make sure my kids appreciate what Dad does--since most of out takes place at work, it's easy not to notice.

Barbara Manatee said...

oh boy...that could not have hit closer to home with me after this weekend!! We just had that conversation last night after we both waited until we were at the ends of our ropes and just lost it with each other - something that could have totally been avoided had we just talked more or said a few things here and there.

Great insight, Dawn! Glad to know we're not the only ones. :-)

Hope everyone in your house is feeling better!

Lowa said...

Trust me, I DO thank my husband when he does those things. Even though I have to ask him 73 times before it actually gets done and he can't think of it on his own. I thank him and tell him how much I appreciate it. I think him mainly because I am in such shock that if FINALLY got done.

And I hear you about the cloest, too. My husband will do things like that. Some appliance has been on the fritz for months and I need help with 37 things, and have been begging every weekend for 4 months for him to please help and take care of at least SOME of this stuff. What does he do?? Goes out in the yard and chops down a bunch of vines that he has been talking about chopping down. *sigh* Spends ALL DAY doing that and still the appliance my kids and I have to work around 24/7 is sitting there in our way, nonfunctional.

Man, can I relate to that about him asking what he can do to help though. My husband and I freak out at each other about once a year about the SAME THING. He always asks me something nice, when I am in a hurry, rushing and stressed and there is NO WAY I can stop to tell him what needs to be done. Can't he look around and see?? Can't he remember me blabbering to him weeks leading up to it, explaining in detail all my plans and how i envisioned things to be?? Seriously, I know they can't read minds, but I talk A LOT sometimes and if he listened, he could figure a lot more things out.

Those cakes were incredible, btw!

Dianne said...

Mine has been helping me clean all day. (Of course, it is HIS parents that are coming over, and his mother is June Cleaver.) But he can do things like move the couch to vacuum better than I can.

And you betcha I'm going to thank him for it!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, sometimes it just takes too long to tell them what they need to do. I think it's impossible to try to understand the way men think. My husband never anticipates what I need for him to do; especially when I'm at my wit's end trying to finish it all up. I also agree we frazzled moms forget how much we appreciate what our husbands do for us, again with no thanks. Even if it seems like they do NOTHING it's too easy to slip into the taking for granted what they do actually do. I can't do the bills to save my life; He always does them...but is away on business for another couple of weeks. It's all I can do to remember to write out checks, get envelopes, make sure we've got stamps then remember to mail them!!! I had to make a point to text hubby to tell him thanks so much for doing them every month!! Just one month and its killing me. We'll probably get hit with late fees because I misread or forgot something. Pay the bills, take out the trash, and shovel the snow...boy I do miss him when he's away. I'll be sure to tell him when I talk to him next. I don't know how the gals whose husbands get deployed do it.

The Miles Family said...

**Sigh** Words of Wisdom!

Scattered Mom said...

I know what you mean. When I come home and Hubs has vacuumed and done the dishes, I always make sure to thank him. :)

My plan is then maybe he'll do it more often (ha ha ha ha).....!

But you are right, it is a two way street, really.

~Lori said...

Well put. And you know, even if they don't necessarily reciprocate, I find that just *saying* "Thank you" makes me feel more... thankful. Thanking him sure makes me feel better than griping to myself about his faults does.

Anonymous said...

I posted something similar on my Blog awhile back. Thought you might enjoy it!

I hate it when Russ has time on his hands. His new "hobby" is rearranging furniture. It all started with a small electrical issue. While he was changing out sockets, he noticed a bit of dust, then he noticed a lot of dust. What's the best way to get rid of it? Move the furniture and vaccuum up EVERYTHING. Oh what's that? You like the new location of the furniture? Better switch out everything in the room then! Well, that process worked in the living room. Better do it in the bedroom too! Can't stop there. The kitchen is now a disaster compared to the other two rooms. And what about the third bedroom? Man that room collects a lot of junk. Some of the junk belongs in the closets but the closets are messy enough. Gotta clean those out to make room! But wait, there's more! All of the useless articles are now piling up in the precious garage space. Time to go through that now! And he wonders why we make ourselves scarce when he has time off.

Of course, now that there are a bunch of half-finished projects, Russ has the sniffles. So guess who is in charge of finishing the ridiculousness...

But at least he's not boring!!! And, my house smells clean!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the never ending saga, of what wives want their husbands to do without an instruction manual blurting out of their (the wive's) nouths, for every task...A battle that all women face!! I deal with this on a daily basis. I would love for him to notice the sparkley toilets! AND I work out of the home, too (only about 12 hours a week), but, I am not home all the time!!! AS a mom of 3, I am busy...I could have posted the same frustrations!! Christine

Laura said...

YOu know I gotta give it to you. You nailed it right on the head. Our husbands are hard workers, and so are we. It's just realizing it on both sides. I have to give it to my husband though. He is great and hekps anywhere he can, and he does thank me for working full time and doing my "woman" choes around the house. And I can't help but thank him for working full time, kepping the yard up, and building me preety much anything i want and or need. Maybe i am just really lucky. But you are dead on, on this post. It takes 2 to say thank you both ways.

Anonymous said...

Just a question again. Are you still in touch w/Mimi??? I think she could use a friend.

AlaneM said...

How did you get in my house???
We have those same issues so many times - once sold a house with the bathroom half ripped up because he wanted to 'surprise' me for my birthday by remodeling. Only he forgot we didn't have any money to remodel - duh!!!
Thanks for the thoughts, right on the money.

Anonymous said...

Quick question about the closets: now they're both purged and nice and neat, right? Because he went through what was in them, discarded what wasn't used/needed any more, and then straightened up and organized what was left when the paint was dry and he put everything away, right?

Hah. Not in my house, at any rate.

I so hear you in this post. I do appreciate and try to remember to thank my hubby when he helps out, but I just don't understand why it's my job to know the entire contents of closets / drawers / cabinets etc. and even though he's been living here for the same 10 years I have, he can't be bothered to remember where something lives or where it was the last time he needed it. Our most recent spat over this was when he needed to snowblow our driveway, and needed his ski pants. Where are they, honey? I looked in the coat closet. But HOW did you look? Open the door and wait for them to jump into your hands? (yes, by the way, that's how he looks for something, no hands involved, just eyes). We had this conversation not a month ago when you needed them, and they're in the EXACT same spot, not wearing an invisible suit. I try so hard not to lose it over things like this, but the kids are bad enough needing me to find things, I would think a grown man could handle exerting some effort in finding something that belongs to him.

And on the topic of their brains working differently, how can a man walk through a kitchen 15 times and not notice that there's a dishwasher that needs to be unloaded, or sit on a couch flipping channels (don't get me started) and not hear the dryer dinging right below his seat?

Maybe it's my fault for doing it all from the get go when we first got married, or for having high standards that he gets yelled at (have to stop doing that) for not meeting. He does do the baths and helps with dinner on the weekends, and that's more than a lot of mommies get. So thanks, Dawn, for reminding me that I really AM happy and feel good about the man in my life!

Laura

Anonymous said...

I'm with a previous "anonymous" comment. While I completely agree with being kind and grateful, I have created somewhat of a monster by making my husband believe he is so wonderful and amazing and thanking him for all that he does. He is an amazing and good person, but it has all gone to his head, and has never come back my way. I've suddenly realized after ten years and four children, I spend a lot of time building him up and bragging about him to others and yet, all that I do as a mother and wife is just expected and to be. I honestly don't feel bitter or mad (at least at the moment :) ), but I do wonder how to make it work on both sides. I am as lucky as can be to have the husband I do, but goodness sakes, he is just as lucky to have me.

Mary said...

Sounds like a loving long lasting marriage to me! We're going on 20 yrs of not understanding each other. Works wonderfully!

Michelle said...

LOL - sounds like you have a visionary man! as described in a book I'm about to recommend called Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl. Its excellent for understanding guys and how we need to be as wives to tailor our actions to fit his needs. This helped me so much in improving my attitude and marriage! : D Blessings.

Robert said...

Folks,
Its interesting that you would like to be appreciated, but don't extend appreciation to your husbands. Talk about a wacky brain! You know what you need but refuse to give it.

Now, Dawn's comments are accurate. Give love and you will get love. Give criticism and you you will get it. Give apathy, and thats what you will get. Sarcasm will beget sarcasm. Appreciate your spouse, and generally they will see that trend and appreciate too.

Its not that hard. Try it some time.

Tina said...

I wish husbands and wives would understand that it's not apples and apples, but apples and oranges. That is, he has his vocation as husband and father and she has hers as wife and mother, and they're DIFFERENT jobs. In a corporation, does an accounting department have the same job as the personnel department? No, but they are both essential to making everything click. Both wives and husbands should stop keeping a laundry list of "I did this for you.. how did you reciprocate/do the same for me?" Trust me, it doesn't get you anywhere! As always, a thank-you on the part of both is always nice -- and often deserved. And also, is it too much to ask to always speak kindly of your husband or wife in public? Keep your complaining/"venting" to yourself, or discuss it with your spouse if it's something that really bothers you. Why not try to build each other up rather than tear each other down.
Just my 2 cents.
-Tina

Patricia said...

We just had this exact argument minutes ago. Really, I just stood up from the table, said I had enough of this argument, went upstairs, sat down at the computer and opened your blog and read what you wrote. How weird is that? It must mean something...
I'll make an effort with the thanking him and not taking him for granted. At least I'll try.

Wannabe mom of 6 said...

I have to admit, I have the man's brain and my hubby has the woman's brain most of the time. (Except I'm still the odd one emotions wise). I was totally with Joe there... birthday party? that's your job. He was asking what he could do, and he picked something, anything, and got it finished! I bet he felt fantastic afterwards too :) I'm exactly the same way lol.

I just had to share, you are exactly right about the assuming it's their job thing. My husband does ALL the laundry, EVERY load! I never thank him for it. I usually thank him for dinner, but I miss alot of the stuff he does around here.

I also need to share, that just two weeks ago I was on holidays (I work 2 days a week, so yes, it isn't really holidays, but I made a big deal about it, and I swear my hubby could write a blog about the crazy way my mind works too). Long story short, I made a big list of things I wanted to get done while I was on holidays... and my husband pointed out that half the list I made was to get him to do things ROFL!

- Finish verathaning the cabinet, and get Hubby to assemble it. LOL!

Missy said...

I thought you might like this! I got it in an email.

THE NEXT SURVIVOR SERIES

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids
each for six weeks. Each kid will play two sports and either take music
or dance classes

There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean,
correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry,
and pay a list of "pretend" bills with not enough money.

In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each
week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives,
and send cards out on time.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist
appointment and a haircut appointment.

He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the
Urgent Care. He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social
function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house,
planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and
all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with
jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished
and eyebrows groomed.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe
abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings
but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least
once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

They will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night
and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb
their hair by 7:00 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will
be required to know all of the following information: each child's
birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name.
Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of
labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack,
favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they
want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man
wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse
at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over
again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right to be called
Mother!

After you get done laughing, send this to as many females as you think
will get a kick out of it and as many men as you think can handle it.
Just don't send it back to me.... I'm going to bed.

Manic Mom said...

Well, I wanted pictures of the heaps of stuff he pulled out of the closets!!!

But this is funny cuz after church today, Mr. Manic was going to drive us through a three dollar car wash to get the chunks of crap off the minivan, just a real quick wash, instead of spending the $12 for a real car wash. He was saying, "I'm just trying to help." And here I am thinking, "I'm not even worth a $12 car wash!??!"

Men are from Mars!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, My husband is a carpenter and he is always bringing home scrap leftovers from a job. We are running out of storage to keep it( For 10 years when we might need it!) I have been known to fix things myself. I just put a new toilet seat on and installed a new spayer for my kitchen sink. People call me Lady McGuyver. Pat Pat... I am thanking me for the things I do! Kristine in Michigan

Adrian said...

I've found lists incredibly helpful. They really are like kids and need that visual reminder. But sort ouf the list and number it for him.

It's interesting. If you give women a list, they will automatically order it in the most efficient way possible - library is near the dry cleaners, and post office needs to be done first, but if you give men a list, they just start at the top and work their way down.

Korkie said...

Joe, or somebody. Thank you for bringing back the sunshine is Dawn's day.
I mean, whew! .... really, I don't want to be on the end of one of her tirades.

I've learned from past experiences to make a list of what you what hubby to do to help you get the house ready for an event.

Because if I did not SPECIFY what I wanted done he would be either putting his cds or books in alphabetical order with this serious look of concentration of his face while I was cooking, dusting, vacuuming,and cleaning the bathrooms.

I choose the things I know he can handle, like running a vacuum and dusting, emptying dishwashers.

So Dawn, when you are planning an event at your house, do all the kids chip in the help out?

Korkie said...

I know this is probably the strangest question your gotten in a couple weeks. But this is a genuine concern.

Hubby just found a dead mouse behind our fridge. I kept telling my husband something was dead in the kitchen. But, what can you expect from a guy that thinks a skunk's smell reminds him of nature and is not really offensive.
So the smell from a dead mouse must have been a trip to heaven for him.

I digress ....... my question is what do you do to get rid of the decaying dead mouse smell once you have gotten rid of it. I can still my the lingering wafts of decayed meat,

Nicole said...

Men you can't live with them and sometimes you wish you could live with out them ;). My husband has a host of things sitting idol in the garage that he's in the midst of working on (a jewelry box he started over a year ago for me for our anniversary is just a start). And now he wants to build a cradle for our baby that is due in July - should I take bets on when or IF that gets done? As for taking people for granted, I think it's an inevitable circle we all travel in.

Katy said...

Dawn, I totally understand this one! Infact, this was my life ;-) Our church just did an AMAZING marriage series. It was actually vidoes from Andy Stanley (North Point Church in GA) called iMarriage. You can find most of the videos on YouTube, but it's not expensive to just buy it. I PROMISE it will change the way you think of your husband. At least, it did for me, and him as well! We had those arguments all the time. We've only had one this month! ;-) Seriously. Check it out!

Domestic Spaz said...

If you leave the toilet dirty for a really long time and THEN clean it he probably WILL comment on how clean and sparkly it is.

Not that I do that...

Just sayin...

Anonymous said...

Just so you aren't under any illusions, I always thank my husband for the things he does around the house, but I am never thanked in return. It doesn't bother me though because I am just thankful that I dont have to do any of those tasks!

What does bother me is when I help the kids clean up some mess they have made and then they expect thanks for it!!

Karla said...

Dawn,
My husband says 'thank you' ... when I say 'God bless you' when he sneezes ;)

I could say that I have tried the thanking and that it is not reciprocated. But then I remind him. When we can turn it into a joke, everyone is happier. Like just now, he went up to bed and thanked me for doing his laundry, especially his whites. (I haven't done them yet!) But he made me laugh.

The one thing he will always thank me for is a good meal. Like a roast instead of hot dogs.

I think we have a good thing - and I think you and Joe do, too. .... That reminds me, mine also thanks me for 'doing the puke'.

Glad you're on the mend out there -
KR

rose, aaron, gavin & hayden said...

i think this argument is going around. we had it the other day.
and why is it that they have to make a stink about what you haven't done? they don't notice what you HAVE done, because it IS DONE, and they weren't here when you did it! UGH!
thank you for writing about it though. it's comforting to know that other couples are getting into fights about this too.

TONYA said...

Ah yes, this sounds oh so familiar.

Now my husband is the type who needs to be rewarded for EVERYTHING. I'm not talking big things, I'm talking about getting out of bed in the morning, making a phone call .. you know the little things. Last week I got so tired of 'rewarding' him and being asked to reward him for everything that I handed him one of Marisol's little wooden spoons from her kitchen set, told him it was his award for the day and to quit bugging me for praise.

He can also walk straight past unfinished projects and not notice them, but leave a little brown food scuff on the stove and I'll be reminded constantly that it's there until I remove it.

lemontree said...

I'm sure Joe just looked around at all the unfinished projects, just knowing he wouldn't have the time to finish them. Or the energy. Then he saw something he could do, and in just one day. My mind works similarly, too. My husband has worked faithfully to try to break me of it.

I think we could all use civility and communication in our marriages, not to mention a whole lot of love and appreciation. It also helps to focus on the good things and brush off what we don't necessarily like.

Mom Of 3 said...

I so know how you feel. For L's 3rd birthday, we had it at chuck e cheese, my husband showed up about 30 minutes before the party ended, and for H's 6th birthday at build a bear he never showed up. He said he didnt understand the big deal. HMM well they are your kids and it is their birthday! MEN!!!

Anonymous said...

Dawn...

I've been married almost 34 years. I've tried the thank yous...hoping for the reciprocation deal a number of times. All that happens is they just get all PUFFED UP with pride over how SPECTACULAR they are over unloading the dishwasher twice a year, when what they've actually done is MISPLACE every eating utensil/food preparation apparatus in the house. It's taken MONTHS now to find the "church key."

Anyway, it's a lovely thought. But honestly, Dawn, men are too oblivious to take the thank you hints. To get them to even come CLOSE to habitually thanking you, one must constantly prompt them by saying something like "Your welcome for that super delicious sandwich I made for you." "Your welcome for me removing track marks from your drawers!" etc., etc., etc. I gave up on it years ago, but wish you the best of luck in your endeavor! Let us know if it works!

Sincerely,
Nancy Binky

BoufMom9 said...

I love that he painted the INSIDE of the closets! What the???
I sometimes think that they seriously do those kinds of silly things so that we don't ask them to help in the real stuff...

Anonymous said...

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus

Kia said...

Oh my! DF and I were getting that way - I suddenly realised one day that we don't thank each other for the small stuff.
So I started thanking him.
Thank you hun for getting me a drink.
Thank you for taking out the trash.

You know what...
He thanks me for cooking his dinner each day, for making his lunch, for being here.

I never asked him or pointed out that we didn't thank each other, I just started doing it and everything kind of fell into place.

And I hear ya on the random jobs that suddenly become the most urgent thing ever.
I just leave him get on with them now. I know one day the bathroom will have flooring down, one day the kitchen won't be just bare plaster walls anymore, but at least in the mean time we have some lovely shelves in the garage for when we finally get round to putting stuff into storage - when we finally get round to sorting what needs storing that is!

Regards
Kia

Jeanne said...

I agree with you. I started thenking my husband for little things "he is supposed to do" and he started doing things he never does, like vacuming and washing dishes....who knew?

Gomomyourock said...

Amen!

I have to give my husband credit though for catching the hint as I left for a girl sciout cookie booth last weekend. He had to come halfway through to pick up one daughter to take her somewhere and I had suggested that a mocha from starbucks would be wonderful at that point. He gets points for catching the hint and bringing the mocha...that he was then over 30 minutes late picking up my daughter and thus throwing our numbers off (a gs no-no) shouldn't matter, right?!

Have a great day!

Kristy O. said...

Ever read the book "Love & Respect"? I've heard nothing but good about it - reading it now :) but yeah...inside the closet - it's a great "finishing" touch!

Marsha said...

That's just a man for you. My hubby does the same thing, and you're right, it's mind-boggling. You have to appreciate his efforts though. You can always be assured that his heart must be in the "right place" albeit slightly askew and off center. LOL.

TheHMC said...

And, once again, I sat here nodding my head in agreeance to everything you wrote.

I've been waiting almost a year to my husband to fix a cabinet door in the kitchen. Imagine my dismay when one of the doors on the cabinet in the bathroom fell off too.

I could ditto everything you wrote! Only I probably would've had several "choice" words to add to the mix. Some call that "being uneducated". I call it "having a flamboyant vocabulary".

Anonymous said...

I do agree with you, a lot of things go unnoticed....probably on both of our ends. I have learned to pick my battles. I have to say that we make it a point to eat dinner as a family every night and my husband thanks me for dinner every single night, whether it's hot dogs or a full blown turkey feast, both of my children also thank me for dinner every single night ( ages 8 & 11) and they have thanked me since they could speak. Kids will definitely mimick parents.
Lisa WA

Lucy said...

I always knew I needed a man for something. I couldn't remember what. Now I know. Painting. I need a painter. Please.

Meari said...

Yup, it's the little things that count. Funny thing... I've told men "thank you" for those little things they do like pumping gas in your car so you don't have to... and I get odd looks and statements like "I'm used to doing it." Oky-doky then! ;-)

Dana said...

i haven't been married as long as you have, and i'm 2 kids behind, but i ALWAYS make sure to show my husband i appreciate everything he does. i learned, about 2 yrs ago, that it really does make things better to say thanks once in a while. i thank him not only for the jobs around the house or for any extra i get from him with the kids, but i make sure that i show him how grateful i am for all of his work AT work. if he didn't work so hard, i couldn't be home with our 4 kids. i used to take it for granted that he worked hard to make the money, but now, i respect it and show my gratitude as much as i can.

i will never understand the male mind, but i know that they need a LOT of ego boosting LOL.

Anonymous said...

The painting the closet thing must be going around. Just last week out of the blue I decided to paint the inside of one of our closets too. My wife also failed to understand the logic behind it. It made perfect sense to me though. Maybe its the weather ?

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