On Friday (6/22–I’m a little behind), I encouraged you by telling you that I think you’re going to do a great job buying and selling stuff on Craigslist. I really do think that. You’re going to do a great job and you’re going to enjoy it.
Lately, it seems that I’ve been demanding and overly harsh with you. And from this you’ve taken it that I think you’re not doing much well. To counteract this, I decided to figure out something that you excel in, and then praise you for it. Your love for others immediately came to my mind. In this, you definitely excel—our girls are growing up in a home filled with love thanks to you and our neighbors and friends have experienced your love as well.
When I told you I was thinking about things you excel in, the first question you asked was, “How many did you think of?” I wasn’t sure what to say, because once your love for others came to mind, I stopped trying to come up with stuff. I should’ve explained that I only tried to come up with one thing and that you excel in a lot of things. Instead, I answered in one of the worst ways: “At least one.” It struck me at first as a clever answer that might get me out of a fix, since saying that I thought of at least one thing is consistent with thinking of 100 things. But as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I was in trouble. You interpreted my answer as you should have: as “Only one,” and took it to imply that “You only excel at one thing.” Sadly, this implication had the opposite effect than what I intended for the act of love; that is, it served to confirm your suspicion that I think you don’t do much well. Sheesh. You were gracious, though, and simply rolled your eyes and gave me a hug.
When I actually told you what I came up with, you appreciated my answer.
I gave myself a break yesterday by doing an act that required minimal effort. You went to your parents’ house with our kids, while I stayed home and worked. When you came home, I told you I missed you and that I wish we could’ve spent the day together. That was my act of love. It didn’t rock your world, but you appreciated it.
I want to be consistent with 365 because I think it’s going to have a lasting influence on our marriage, but I also want to live a balanced life. Work is throwing me off enough with all the hours I currently need to put in, so I can’t let 365 get in the way of my relationship with God and others or of proper rest and exercise.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if 365 consumed so much of my time and energy that I neglected my relationship with you to maintain it? It’s simply a tool. I shouldn’t make it more than that. So far, I haven’t sacrificed (much) time with you or others. Instead, I’ve sacrificed some sleep and exercise (I’m attempting to remedy that). And at one point, I neglected my walk with God. But overall, 365’s been the most intrusive in forcing me to reorient my heart so that it’s less self-centered. That’s a good thing.
In my effort to tone down my acts of love (for now) so as not to overwhelm you, I committed a very simple act yesterday: I gave you a long hug and told you that I love you and I’m glad I married you. You very much enjoyed that act of love and reciprocated my words of affirmation with your own. Though my big acts of love are great memory makers for us, I think you enjoy the little acts of love almost, if not just, as much.
Last night, I wrote a different note of encouragement on each of 5 note cards, then stuck/hid those cards in different places around the house. Here are the five notes: (1) “You’re beautiful,” (2) “I’m so glad I married you,” (3) “God loves you,” (4) “You’re a wonderful, godly woman,” and (5) “I love you.” I taped (1) to the bathroom mirror because I want you to see yourself as beautiful as you read the note. Also, I want you to see it every morning when you get ready so you can go about your day knowing your husband thinks you’re beautiful. Okay, there’s one more reason: when I get ready in the morning, I want to pretend that the note’s written to me. (2) is in the spice cabinet. I want to say I put it there because marrying you spiced up my life. Although you do spice things up, the cabinet just looked like a good hiding spot. I placed (3) in the towel closet. Again, I had no particular reason for placing (3) there. Although, God loves you even when you need a towel. You’ll find (4) taped to the coffee in the freezer. (5) I put somewhere in the house; but honestly, I can’t remember where. It might still be there as you’re reading this a year from now.