If there’s one thing that fuels life’s gas tank, it’s appreciation. Showing appreciation is a simple way of communicating someone’s value to them. That’s why we celebrate things like Administrative Professionals Day. We set aside one day a year to show our appreciation to those who most likely fade into the background the other three-hundred sixty four days. We check it off our ‘to-do’ list and consider it good enough. But when we’re fostering relationships with those most important to us, one day a year doesn’t suffice; And even more so in a marriage.
It’s easy, in this chaotic mess we call ‘living’, to take for granted our significant other. Connection gets replaced with communication, and intimacy gets exchanged with formality. But as a husband, it’s my responsibility to make sure my wife is nurtured, not only by completing honey-do-lists, but also with words of acclamation. As a father, it’s also important for me to intentionally set the standard from which my children will one day use to create their own life stories. I want my kids to see their Dad uplifting their Mom, verbally, emotionally and physically, as a habitual practice. I want both my spouse and children to know that the man who loves them the most acts like he does, both in word and deed. So today, for my kids and my wife, I write this:
Dear Tiffany, you’re enough. Just being you is enough. I could go on and on about all the tangible things you do for this family, washing countless dishes that line the sink after a single meal that fed 7 bellies, navigating mounds of laundry to ensure we all have clean underwear, but those aren’t the things that matter most. What matters most is the unconditional love you give us, even when we don’t deserve it. What matters most is seeing you wear your heart on your sleeve as you care for us. What matters most is the smile on your face when you hold our babies, and the concern in your eyes when you hear their slightest whimper. We don’t tell you this enough, but we appreciate you; not in light of what you do for us, but because we love you deeply. And who you are is who we love.
There’s an unattributed quote that says, “Too many people get caught up in what could be instead of appreciating what is . Don’t fall into that trap . Appreciate what you have and who you have, because the future can take it all away from you.” And that’s my heart’s cry. I never want complacency to prevent the ones I love from knowing how much I appreciate them.
This year will mark ten years married to my beautiful wife and I’m still working on daily conveying my appreciation to her. I do realize the important significance of it, though, and I’ll continue to grow in practice. But having my children discover that love and appreciation are the most important attributes in any successful relationship is such a wonderfully rewarding byproduct of honoring my wife. It’s certainly something to be proud of.