Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lessons from a Post-It Note

Last week, I went into Matt’s dresser to put some clothes away. Normally, I don't venture into this part of our bedroom - mostly because I can’t handle the disorganization of undershirts mixed in with t-shirts and corners of fabric sticking out at odd angles. (I'll spare you the visual on this one. Just take my word for it). I gave up putting his laundry away long ago because I always ended up re-folding everything. But he was working late and I wanted to be nice. So I opened the cabinet and stuck inside the door was a post-it note with my handwriting on it. It said, “You are an amazing husband. Thank you for all you do for me.”

I wrote that note months ago and stuck it on the bathroom mirror after Matt went to bed. I wanted him to leave for work the next morning with a nice reminder of how much he is loved and appreciated. I was touched that he kept it, especially since he’s the kind of guy who throws away greeting cards 30 seconds after he reads them. But the note also made me sad because I couldn’t remember a time since then where either of us did anything like that for each other.

Matt and I have been married for 3 years, together for 6 years, and friends for 9 years. During those years of friendship, I would have given anything to go out with him. If you told me then that I would eventually be married to him and that there would be days where I would take him for granted, I wouldn’t believe you. If you told me that I would get annoyed at how he organizes his dresser or how he always wants to watch Sportscenter or how anyone could possibly put that much ranch dressing on everything, I would have said you were crazy. Back then, I would have gladly agreed to deal with any of his annoying habits if it meant that I could be with him.

I’m amazed at how easy it is (especially after children) to start taking each other’s presence for granted; to stop noticing the wonderful things and start noticing the annoying things. When we first got married, we always did little things to make each other feel special. One time, I came home to find post-it notes everywhere throughout the house (we really like post-it notes). They were in every room; on the TV, the mirrors, the walls, each one bearing different words with the same underlying message – you are loved and appreciated. Even though I know he loves me, hearing it (or reading it) never gets old. In fact, it almost means more as the years go by - as if we’re saying, “Even though I know all kinds of crazy things about you that I didn’t know 6 years ago, I still wouldn’t have it any other way.”

My favorite thing about those little reminders is their simplicity. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to do something to remind us that we are still in love. The day I saw my post-it note in the dresser, I called Matt’s new office. I knew he wasn’t there, but I left a message and said, “I just wanted you to know that I love you, and I’m proud to be your wife.” The next day I got a text message from him. It said, “I just want to thank you for all you do for me.” So yesterday I was picking up cards for some other occasions, and I grabbed one for Matt too. I’m hoping this will get us back into the regular habit of expressing our love and gratitude more intentionally. I’m so glad he kept my note. It was supposed to be a reminder to him, but it ended up being a good one for me too! I’m also glad I went into his dresser. It was totally worth having to re-fold his shirts.

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