When I was growing up, I remember my mom always telling me to say “Sir” and “Ma’am” when talking to adults and to always say “please” and “thank you.” She was going to pound manners into me if it took her a lifetime! ~smile~ Sure, it was a little annoying having to go through the drill every single time I went to stay over at a friend’s house, but I am so thankful that she instilled those words into my vocabulary.
Though we don’t like to be called “Sir”and “Ma’am” when we are young, there is something special about the respect behind the title. When I address anyone as Sir or Ma’am, I am saying, “I respect you.”
Please and thank you are also messages of respect. “Please” takes the edge off of a request. When a little kid comes up and says “Make me a snack!” we think, “And just who do you think you are, Squirt?!” But, if that same kid walks up and says, “May I have a snack, please?” we are much more open to the request. Please (the non-whiny please, that is) says, “You don’t have to do this for me, but I would really appreciate it.” We want to give to those who don’t take us for granted, don’t demand from us, and appreciate what we do. Perhaps Mom just didn’t want the rest of the world to groan when they saw me coming. ~smile~
Then, there’s thank you. There is such a power in these two words. Those who take the time to say “thank you” are acknowledging that someone else went out of his or her way to make their lives better. They are saying, “I do not take you for granted. You are a blessing to me. What you did was meaningful in my life. You are appreciated.”
Some relationships sincerely lack appreciation. If you want to water and nourish your sweetie, start by showing respect in even the slightest of ways. When you request something, say “please.” When your sweetie does something nice for you, even if it is something you consider a given, say “thank you.”
Sometimes Eric will randomly walk into the room and thank me for something I did around the house or for PreEngaged. When he notices my work it fires me up to work harder, it warms my heart, and it lets me know that I am not going completely unnoticed in this world. My work matters!
Ways to Show Thanks to Each Other
- Thank You Notes –Thank you notes are one of the quickest, easiest, and most heart-warming ways to thank someone. All it takes to write one is a tiny bit of money, a pen, and a few spare moments.
- Thank You Gifts – When your sweetie or anyone in your life does something that touches you in a special way, consider giving him or her a small gift of gratitude. The purpose is not to pay for the service that was done, but to show the depth of your appreciation. A gift can even be an impromptu dinner at a favorite restaurant.
- Facebook Acknowledgements – Be careful with this one. Some people like to be thanked “publically” and others don’t. Often when Eric does something extra special for me, I show my appreciation and respect by bragging about him on Facebook. Expressing your appreciation on social media is the twenty-first century version of yelling from the rooftops. ~smile~
- Eye-to-Eye Delivery – Thank yous are great as long as they are sincere, but some thank yous are more awesome than others. Eric thanks me often for various tasks I complete, but sometimes he has me pause what I’m doing, takes me by the hand, looks me in the eyes, and says, “Thank you.” Those thank yous are beyond special. It is almost like the world stops for a few seconds and nothing else matters except the message he is sending me. That is when I know he is grateful from the bottom of his heart. Those thank yous also scream, “I love you!” ~smile~
- Returning the Favor – As nice as it is to hear a “thank you,” when you realize you are doing all the work in your relationship, the thank you routine gets old. To show your sweetie you are truly grateful, look for ways to return those favors. In fact, try to outdo each other (Romans 12:10)! The best way to show your appreciation for a blessing is to be a blessing in return!
Sometimes All a Broken Relationship Needs is a Little Gratitude
We are so selfish. We naturally look at the world and wonder, “What’s in it for me?” But in relationships, we either have to change our thinking or plan to be extremely lonely. We have to stop basing our actions on a contract-mentality (i.e., what we get in return – if he washes my car, then maybe I’ll wash his clothes), and start basing them on a covenant-mentality (i.e., what is best for someone else – I will bless him by washing his clothes).
When I am tempted to look down on Eric, or demand more from him, I am often reminded of all he does for me (even if it is not always what I want at the moment). When I remember his kindness and sacrifices, I cannot help but feel thankful.
A few months ago, he took a large sum of his saved personal money (we budget a small sum of money to blow individually each month and he oftens saves much of his; whereas, I’m not as much of a saver) and bought me a rather expensive Berkey water filtration system that I wanted. A few days later, I was complaining about something to my mom in jest, and she said, “Go look at the Berkey!” In other words, “Heather, your husband is a blessing to you, and when you forget it, go look at the sacrifice he made to make you happy.”
If saying please and thank you does not come naturally to you, I would encourage you to give it a try anyway. You can start by thanking your sweetie in the least awkward way possible, and then work your way up to heartfelt, eye-to-eye thank yous!
We all want our work to be noticed and appreciated. Showering your sweetie with gratitude (in varying degrees based on his or her personality) is like watering his or her soul. Every few weeks, it is good to ask yourself, “Have I been taking my loved one(s) for granted lately?”
Thankful people have lighter hearts, less anxiety, and more hope! So, showing gratitude will not only bless your sweetie and your relationship, but it will bless you too!
How often to you say “thank you” to your sweetie?