We attended an Army Marriage Enrichment Seminar many years ago. They suggested we ask our partner for a list of ten things we could do to make them feel special, that way if we did one or two things from the list randomly, they would notice that we did that on purpose to show how much we love each other.
I did this!!!
The list he gave me was a bunch of cleaning and chores around the house. He likes things neat, organized, etc. I would occassionally do one or two things from the list, but he never noticed that I did them! He usually came home really CRABBY and seemed to inspect the house for everything that was WRONG.
I felt discouraged that he didn't notice all the times I had done a couple things from the list ... so one day,
I took the day off, I did EVERYTHING ON THE LIST!!!
I spent the whole day cleaning, organizing, made his favorite meal, desert, arranged for the four kids to spend the night elsewhere, wore his favorite outfit, fixed my hair just the way he liked it and I wore bright red lipstick (because he liked that)!
Everything was going to be perfect & I knew he was gonna love it!!
I finished cleaning the upstairs first, then I carried down the laundry as the last thing I did up there. When he came home, I was ready, the house was sparkling!!!
I was literally excited to see his reaction!
He came in, gave me a nasty angry look and went upstairs to shower first thing. He normally took a shower as soon as he got home, so I anxiously waited for him to come back down, sure he would notice how wonderful the house looked up there!!!
Apparently, I had accidentally dropped a sock from the laundry as I was carrying it downstairs... it was sitting towards the top of the steps. I didn't notice it, because I didn't go back upstairs again. He found the sock and immediately assumed that I had dropped it and was too lazy to pick it up myself, leaving it there ON PURPOSE, expecting him to pick it up for me. He was very upset with me for that.
He came downstairs screaming at me that I was so lazy and couldn't clean up after myself, etc.
He was so focused on how I took advantage of him like that, that he didn't notice anything that I had done!!!!!! I was in shock, waited for him to notice the house, the dinner, the kids gone, etc
He noticed.... NOTHING!!!
He ate his dinner, glancing over to give me angry looks every once in awhile. He was so angry the rest of the night, he didn't even notice we were alone and I was dressed up for a romantic evening alone with him. He was so angry about the sock, he only bickered and yelled at me that night.
WHY DIDN'T HE NOTICE ANY OF IT???
I was puzzled and feeling very discouraged. Honestly, I threw my hands up at that point, as it seemed as though it really didn't matter what I did, he would only notice the bad stuff. Something even the kids complained about with him, saying:
"what's the point? Dad only notices the bad stuff!"
He had been in the habit of looking for the bad, expecting it to be there. In his former relationships, he claimed that they didn't do anything around the house & expected him to do everything, so I guess he expected more of the same from me. He looked for a heads up, a warning.... and he could find it every time, it was proof that I didn't really love him...
even if it didn't make sense to anyone else.....
it was very real to him.
The big point of this story....
When a person is looking for something Bad (evidence that he wasn't really loved)... they WILL find it (the sock), but the Good that is there (Everything else done especially for him) sometimes becomes invisible at the same time.
The reverse is also true... if he were to have come in looking for something GOOD (evidence that he was REALLY LOVED), He would have found it (noticing everything perfect, clean & made just the way he likes it) .... and the Bad that was there (the sock), wouldn't have been a bad thing at all.
I noticed this about him... started applying it to my life. I began to check what I was expecting to find, what I was looking for.... and noticed that when I stopped myself and looked instead for something GOOD, I did find that there too! It almost always makes the bad stuff so tiny that they pretty much disappear in comparision!
I began to wonder....
How much GOOD STUFF had I missed seeing in my own life???
I was going to do my best NOT to miss seeing those things again!
Whenever I would see something bad happening, I would try to refocus my thoughts by thinking, "maybe it's just a SOCK! Look for the GOOD STUFF that it's hiding!"
I have told this story to MANY of my clients. A few of them have even come back to thank me for sharing it with them, saying that it helped save their marriage!!!
Wow. that was an awesome compliment!
Many times, I wished I could tell the Sock story to my own Husband, hoping that it would work as well on him as it did on the clients who came to see me. I was so afraid to tell him the story... what if he recognized it?
But then again, what if he overheard me telling the story about him??
So one day, when the time was right, I told him the sock story, as if it was about someone else. He listened to it, all the while looking at me like I was annoying him simply by speaking. Then when I finished the story, he just looked at me with the same angry look. I started to panic, thinking... "oh no! did he recognize that the story was about him???"
I then said, "so... do you remember that night then?"
He raised his voice, "what are you talking about Jennifer?"
I said, "that story was about us."
He said, "you have NEVER done anything like that!"
I said, "yes, I DID... you didn't notice it because you were so angry."
He yelled, "NO! I would have noticed that! You have NEVER done anything like that! I knew I shouldn't have listened to your STUPID STORY!"
That was it, he was angry with me again.
Seemed I spent most of my relationship with him trying to avoid making him MORE ANGRY than he already always was!
The only times I never had to worry about that, was when he was thinking about his past relationships, THEN I was the BEST WIFE EVER!
"Seek and you will find" Matthew 7:7 I personally testify that it's true! I have noticed that whatever I am looking for, I find it! That could be good OR bad, depends on what I'm looking for!
Please do yourself a favor...
Remember, Whatever you are looking for... YOU WILL FIND IT!!!
Be careful what it is that you are seeking to find.... because it may be keeping all the AWESOME GOOD STUFF hidden from you!
Impliment the stratedgy of giving thanks for EVERY little thing, really feel thankful for those things. I start my day by giving thanks for the hot water in my shower, the smell of the soap, the sunlight, etc. I strive to look for things that I appreciate, that I hadn't realized how much I appreciate them, like hot water in the shower! It's a way to start the day off in the "good mood" frame of mind, among other things.
Make sure you LOOK FOR THE GOOD...
it's ALWAYS there to find!
written by: Jennifer Kruse, LMT CRMT
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