If you happen by the Jacobson house some day and we’re all in the kitchen clamoring like robin chicks waiting for worms, it’s a pretty safe bet that another batch of Lisa’s famous wheat bread is almost ready to slice and spread with warm butter.
A long time ago, Lisa determined to produce The Best Wheat Bread on Planet Earth and everyone who has had it agrees: she succeeded! If this is beginning to sound like a “good husband praising his wife” article, it’s not. The “good husband” is basically missing.
But I’m not missing. I’m there, right in the center of it.
Wish I hadn’t been . . . so does Lisa.
Anyway . . .
Here’s the scene: Lisa has just made bread. The entire house is filled with the euphoric aroma that reaches up your nostrils, caressing your brain while whispering over and over again . . . come get me. I could eat a whole loaf (is that wrong?)
Now, prior to making bread, my industrious wife wrote and published two articles. While waiting for the bread to rise, she orchestrated a house cleaning party involving the youngest to the oldest. She, herself, was vacuuming and packing around the various random things every mom picks up and puts away about 4 million times a day. In a word, everything was perfect.
And then, guess who shows up!
Quiz Time: What did The Husband say when he walked in the door? (Check One Answer)
- __ “Hey Beautiful, the house looks fantastic, but not as fantastic as you!”
- __ “Fresh bread, again? I AM THE MOST LOVED MAN ON EARTH!”
- __ “You seem really tired. You’ve been working hard all day. Here, let me do that.”
- __ “Thank you so much for all you do! I’m One Blessed Man!
- __ “Hey, what’s for dinner?” (vacant, innocent – somewhat stupid- stare toward the kitchen)
Yep, you guessed it: Option #5. You’re very perceptive.
Have you ever seen a punctured tire or a plant deprived of water in a hot, summer wind? You get the picture. I hurt her, offended her, deflated her, and took the joy out of her love offering to her family.
Lisa’s not alone, is she? At some point, we all feel taken for granted.
Not long ago, a friend confided to Lisa that she rarely goes into the kitchen any more because she knows what she produces there will never be good enough. May as well grab a couple of frozen pizzas again. Ever feel like that? About the kitchen . . . about anything . . . about everything?
And, just because I’m the bad guy in this story doesn’t mean this doesn’t cut both ways. Husbands may sometimes be less vocal but we can feel just as passed over.
Why do we do that? Why do we overlook the great qualities, love offerings, sacrifices, and faithfulness of those everyday, wonderful, and unsung heroic things our spouse does for us? Why do we diminish our spouse with the very attitude (intended or not) we despise when doing the opposite is so easy and means so much?
Have you been offended in this way, recently? Do you feel taken for granted and unappreciated? Does everything you do and give seem to go unnoticed or little valued?
I would encourage you to do what Lisa did. She came to me and expressed her feelings in a calm, sincere manner. At first, I didn’t see the issue – thought she was being too touchy – looking for offense where there was none. After all, what could be more natural than wondering what’s for dinner? Right? I was hungry!
But as she walked me through her perspective, (keeping her cool even while stating she had been hurt) gradually (not immediately) I came to understand that, while I intended no harm, I had communicated a total lack of regard and zero appreciation for all she had offered that day. That’s sure not how I desire to make her feel.
Bottom line: The spouse who wants to be valued and appreciated needs to identify him/herself. Don’t choose to remain offended and expect your spouse to read your mind. Communicate calmly how the situation made you feel.
Was this some story pulled from the archives of our first year of marriage? No, it was about a year ago – and we both say we have a great marriage! Even so, there we were, needing to “work it out.” We did, and I’ve since enjoyed some warm bread slathered in butter along with the warm embrace of a giving and forgiving spouse.
Have you been offended? Tell your spouse.
Have you given offense? Ask for forgiveness.
Ask God to help you change. Expressing genuine gratitude just isn’t that difficult:
Hey Babe, thank you so much for dinner . . .
I appreciate so much the way you love us all . . .
The work you did today was just amazing. I’m grateful for you . . .
Thank you for your faithfulness to me . . .
A marriage can’t thrive without gratefulness anymore than a plant can survive without water. Do you regularly communicate your appreciation to your husband or wife? Most would like to think of themselves as that kind of marriage partner but what is the daily reality in your home, behind closed doors?
Purpose to give thoughtful, grateful notice of those many gifts and offerings that make up the normal, rich days of married life. You won’t regret it.