This is the third time I’ve started the 30 day husband encouragement challenge. I started it for the first time a few years ago, and literally before the end of the first week my husband asked what I wanted because I was being so nice. Instead of being happy that he noticed I was making effort, I just gave up because the thought I had ulterior motives.
I start the challenge each time, because I feel like we are more polite to coworkers or strangers than we are to loved ones. I don’t think this is intentional, but we tend to get comfortable and say what we want, perhaps in whatever way we want. I hope I’m not the only one who feels this way, or I’ll feel like even more of a jerk. I think for most people this is a gradual progression over time in the relationship. The picture is our first one together back in 2004. So you could say we’ve been together a few years.
Neither my husband nor I are particularly verbose individuals. He loves a friendly debate, but on average we aren’t chatty people. In addition to that, we don’t openly do that whole feelings thing. Though I’m sure my husband is used to it, I also tend to be a little blunt.
I wouldn’t say that I exactly completed the challenge this time either, but I definitely made it further and learned a few things. Given our schedules, I either see my husband briefly with a toddler running around, or not at all before I leave for work. As a result, I ended up cramming the task of many days into the last hour or so before bedtime. Additionally, I feel like I had the same delivery most days. I typically ended up saying “thank you” for doing certain things. Thank you isn’t bad, but it isn’t very creative and I just felt very repetitive. If I do this again, I think I should definitely do more advance planning. Some may think that takes some of the romance out of it, but for me it means that it will get done and have more variety.
I think the challenge really has a dual purpose. Not only can you learn to appreciate your husband in different ways, but you learn a little about yourself. I’m slowing learning to pause before reacting in an effort to remove a little negativity. I have a tendency to react first, and it may not even be to things that are actually said. I mentioned that I’m a rather blunt and logical individual, and I take comments at face value in any other situation. With my husband though, I tend to react first and assume that comments have other meanings than what he actually said. By not wanting to say anything negative, I pause first and have time to think about what was actually said versus what I’m assuming he means.