Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Things I Don't Say 'Thank You' for...

This morning, my friend Ann posted this article.  She did so with a reminder to be grateful for our spouses. She understands the necessity of that gratefulness in a deeper way now, since she lost her husband, my friend Paul.  And it got me thinking…

My husband, Aaron, drives an old van without air conditioning. 
It’s been a HOT summer, and humid, and gross. He gets off of work around 5, or 5:30 every day, drives home in a van without air conditioning in dress pants, a button down shirt and sometimes a tie.  A van that sits in the sun all day long.  In the Spring, we totaled two cars, in the span of 2 weeks. Aaron is a bit frugal (cheap) by nature.  I am a bit of a spender (bougie) by nature.  I wanted a really nice van, with the automatic things, and fancy dvd players.  He made that happen, but had to compromise by driving around a less charming van.  A van without air conditioning, that smells like stale cigarettes and doesn’t even have a cd player.  This summer, I haven’t heard him complain once about driving home in the heat, in his van, without air. 

And I haven’t really thought to say thank you.

My husband works all day.  When I say ‘all day’ I don’t mean 9:00 am-5:00 pm.  He gets up around 6:00 am and begins to answer international emails.  He takes a break to shower around eight, and then goes into work.  He comes home, plays with the kids for a second, tries to be present with me, then turns on his computer to prepare work for his offshore guys who will work while we sleep.  Often times, he works 2-3 hours a night.  My husband knows how much this bothers me. Working all the time is a dangerous habit for a man, and I bring that up often.  So, when he gets home, he asks me when I would like him to work.   He usually begins as I go to bed, staying up till 11 or 12 at night, in order to do everything he needs to do.

And I don’t usually say thank you.

My husband wakes up with the early risers.  He allows me to stay in bed and say my daily prayers. My prayers are really necessary to my sanity. I am a nicer mom when I start my day with Scripture.  I yell less. I can take on the demands of our four children (the constant.freaking.demands) if I beg Jesus in the morning to give me the strength to joyfully live my vocation.  So, Aaron gets up first.  He wakes up with the younger two, locks the door so the older two can’t disturb me, changes the babies and begins his work for the day.  He does this pretty much every morning.

But once I start the morning breakfast routine, the servant part of my job, I rarely think to thank him for starting me off right.

There’s other things too...

The laundry loads up and down the stairs
The trash in and out of the house
The bills that I never have to worry about
The oil changes
The car fill-ups
The meat grilled for weekly meals.

I don’t say thank you a lot.

My sister, Theresa, pointed out last month, we do a lot more with our time when we know we are being appreciated.  That has led me to reflect on how far a simple ‘thank you’ can go to encourage us in this vocation of marriage. I’ve been thinking about the necessity of grace, and being kind to one’s spouse.   I’ve been trying to place myself in Aaron’s shoes, the stresses he carries, the way he serves.  
I’ve been wondering how I got to a place where I forget to say thank you.

I think it’s started with life getting insanely busy with children.  You know, the pregnancies, the hormones, the feeling sorry for myself.  I began to think more about the things I should be thanked for, than the things my husband was doing on a daily basis.  I turned inward to the sacrifices I make for our family, often times completely overlooking the way Aaron lays down his life for us. 

I'm going to start saying thank you more often. I'm going to look for opportunities to be grateful for my spouse and how he provides for our family in so many ways.  Marriage is hard in 2016,  Marriage is hard in 2016 when you've chosen to have 4 kids in six years.  I want to try my hardest to have a good marriage, and I think a really big key to that, is going to be saying, 'thank you'.

Those are my thoughts for today.


  1. Thank you for being you. You make a difference. The end.

  2. I was so happy to see that you had blogged. Your writing and commentary truly is inspiring. I am not at all a write but an avid reader of Catholic mom blogs, so thank you for sharing.

  3. This is beautiful Mary...what I love about your writing (and you as a person) you're able to admit and realize things about yourself that sometimes are uncomfortable to admit out loud. This reminds me of the great power in just the words "thank you" to people I love, even strangers!