According to numerous studies, and every article I’ve read, or podcast guest I’ve had that shares their expertise on relationships, a happy marriage is a spousal expression of gratitude.
Not so much.
Gratitude is simply measured as the degree to which individuals felt appreciated and valued by their spouse and acknowledged when they did something nice for their spouse.
So, it really goes back to the power of thank you. By simply showing gratitude, couples can overcome negative communication patterns in their relationships that might be a stressor.
Okay, let’s break this down by simply saying, “It’s throwing your spouse/partner a bone”. Doesn’t that sound romantic?
Maybe they mowed the lawn or did the laundry on a day that you really needed it to be done and you didn’t have to ask. Bingo…right there. Just a simple “thank you.”
I certainly pulled the gratitude card from the box one night years ago. Before I even dig into this story, I have to tell you that I married my college sweetheart. It was love at first sight…..or the second kiss….one of those….and we’ve been married for twenty-seven years.
I was gearing up for an event that had taken months and months of planning. And in usual, Amy-fashion, I was the Chairperson of this gala. The performers and entertainment were lined up, the DJ was in place, the emcee had a handle on the financial goal for the event, and we were off.
And for those of you that can relate….we were off and running. From set up in the morning, until getting the sitter arranged for the kids overnight. It was a marathon day.
I had my hair done, my nails done, and my eyebrows waxed, which at that point in my life was the trifecta of self-care. Everything seemed to be aligned as the perfect storm for romance, or was it?
The night went off without a hitch. The auction made more money than previous years, the dance floor was filled to capacity even when the DJ went on the break, the lines to the bars were moving, and the checkout process was running smoothly.
My husband had booked a room at the hotel for the night several months before. This wasn’t my first rodeo running an event, and it wasn’t his first time seeing me try to rock four-inch heels, and by the end of the night, he knew I’d be exhausted. I could almost picture the end of the night, removing the hundred hairpins out of my updo, peeling off my Spanx, followed by the not so graceful plop into bed.
I’m sure when my husband booked the room, he figured he’d be ‘gettin lucky’. A night away…no kids…
This was the perfect night for romance. No kids to worry about. No deadlines to meet. No committees to run, all the details and logistics stress was over. I could come up for air and relax.
During the evening, I flitted around from table to table to make sure that everyone was taken care of, and all of their needs were met. I made sure that the waitstaff had every detail covered and the dessert would be served just as the live auction kicked off.
I can remember my husband grabbing my arm at one point during the night and saying, “Honey, this is amazing.”
I also can remember in that moment, saying a quick, “Thanks,” and then I was off to take care of someone or something else. It wasn’t a look you in the eyes kind of thank you. It was a mere brush-off—of “Yea, thanks.”
As the evening came to a close, and the tables were cleared, the checkout lines were empty, and the committee members had left for the night. I remember having my heels in hand and walking over to my husband, who was patiently waiting for me, sitting at a table filled with empty wine glasses, wilted flowers, and candles burned to the last bit of wax.
I knew if I sat down, I’d never get up and would fall asleep in the chair, so we left the ballroom and headed upstairs to our room for the night. I can remember walking to the elevator with his arm wrapped around me, holding me up.
We got to our floor, and as we opened the door, it wasn’t that wedding night moment of my husband carrying me over the threshold, but two exhausted people, one with his bow tie untied and shirt unbuttoned, and one frantically taking her pins out of her hair and removing her sparkly earrings that felt like weights tugging at her earlobes.
It was almost as if we were in a race to see who could hit the pillow first.
It was at that moment, that exhausted moment of flopping into bed, that I realized my efforts of pleasing everyone at the event and checking every box, paled in comparison to the love and support my husband had given me through the planning and execution of this gala over the course of that past year.
He was the one I hurriedly brushed off when he grabbed my arm to simply say, “You’re doing great.” There were far too many times over the years that I’d taken my husband for granted. He’s seen me on my best days and certainly my share of not so good days.
There wasn’t any hot and heavy romance that night. I curled up next to him and before we could finish a sentence, we were asleep.
Amy Schmidt is an award winning podcaster, best-selling author, public speaker, TEDx Speaker, blogger and founder of the brand, Fearlessly Facing Fifty™. She launched her business and brand six months before turning 50. Her mission is to encourage women over forty to push fear aside and find that hidden treasure of confidence, that may have been pushed aside for awhile and not let this time of life allow them to lose their identity. Amy is committed to challenging the narrative at midlife from crisis to opportunity. Amy’s weekly podcasts have an audience that continues to grow at record speeds reaching thousands every week. Her interviews arm you with insight and value, leave an imprint on your heart, and inspire you to take action. Amy uses her personal storytelling and authentic self to empower women to take charge of their life in the middle, at a time when women can begin to feel invisible. Amy’s podcasts inspire women to step outside their comfort zones, and is as approachable and genuine as what you read in her book. Amy offers a variety of workshops on The Power of Mentorship, Intro to podcasting, and Cannonballing with confidence. She is the real deal. Amy has a trusted following and built a community around inspiring others. Her work has been published in Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Today Parents, and many others. She is a regular contributor on numerous syndicated talk shows, and loves sharing her story to inspire others. Amy loves to connect with her followers and encourages emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find her on socials. Fearlessly Facing Fifty on Facebook, and Instagram: Amy.K.Schmidt