Public Service Announcement III: Be Nice to Each Other

Sunday night, for the first time ever in my entire life, I cooked a steak.

It was not for me, but for my husband. (For the record, I still think preparing chicken is the most disgusting thing in the world.) It is part of my strategy for getting DearDR to eat better food and learn portion control. He also had a lovely salad of Italian baby lettuce, strawberries, celery, and carrots. (No cheese, no nuts, not for DearDR for a while.)

See, DearDR needs to lose weight. Also, his triglycerides have to come down (to quote his doctor, they are “exceedingly high”), and quickly. If he can’t get them in line — and keep them in line — through diet and exercise, he’ll have to start taking medication.

DearDR is only 40 years old. And I plan on keeping him around a long time. I’m going to help him be a better eater and lose some weight.

A while back, Heather Armstrong at Dooce was reflecting on whether marriage or child-rearing was more difficult. (For her, the latter.) There are days that for me, the two run neck and neck, but part of that is due, to my discredit, to my poor attitude. A kind of “leave me alone” attitude. There are days that I seriously question whether I am cut out for this wife-and-mother gig I’ve gotten myself into. (Newsflash RPM: Too late!) Some days I just feel my household is out of my control, the budget is out of my control, my children are out of my control, and so-help-me if DearDR asks me to make him a sandwich, I’m going to lose it.

But then I get a good night’s sleep, and my children do something amazing, and my husband makes me laugh, and everything is all right again. A glass of wine and some quiet time at the end of a day do wonders, too.

I was having one of those cranky days last Wednesday (note to RPM: adjust the attitude in time for Lost night), and DearDR and I sniped at each other. And then he got his numbers from the doctor on Friday, and I got some perspective.

Remember a few years ago when those “Tips for a Good Wife” were making the rounds of the Internet? I’m not going to say that those are a good idea or anything (I am feminist, hear me roar), but something can be said for being nice to each other.

When your spouse comes home, stop what you are doing (unless this involves leaving a child undiapered or in danger) and hug and kiss him or her. You may not feel like doing it, I know. Do it anyway.

Pick up the occasional treat for your spouse — you do it for the kids when you’re out and about. Just a little something that says, “I thought of you today.” A book, a DVD, some (inexpensive) flowers, a nice beverage or chocolate. I think we all do this early in our courtships, and then it goes by the wayside, especially as other things take precedence. Bring back the treats! DearDR has given me bookmarks, and I’ve been thrilled to know that I am on his mind.

Prepare a meal for your honey — or simply provide one. Whichever spouse does more meal planning and prep needs a break. Give him/her one. It can be as simple as bringing home a Costco pizza to bake at home, or suggesting the family go out — even Eat ‘n’ Park can be a relief.

Cuddle. Watch a movie together. Spend special time on a regular basis with your significant other. I know for DearDR and me, this is challenging because of the children and our schedules. We are trying to bring it back. (I’m not talking about green beans. I’m talking about intimacy.)

I know this is all common sense stuff, but I also know I lose sight of simple things — over and over again. When DearDR and I married and talked about having kids, I told him I wanted us to remember that we were married first. And then I forgot — or, more likely, I get so frustrated with what I perceive is my bad job on the spousal and/or parenting front, and I want to chuck the whole thing and go away for a week.

Some day, it will be just DearDR and me again. I don’t want us to have to try to reconnect when the kids leave home. I want us to take the little steps we need to take to stay connected. Now and forever.

7 thoughts on “Public Service Announcement III: Be Nice to Each Other

    • You’re young, and you can still learn.

      Yes, you should be very nice to Heidi. I’ve met her. You’re very lucky.

      So am I, actually.

      I’ll be curious to hear what nice thing(s) you start doing for her.


  1. Timely post. I’ve been marrried for 15 years and while hubby and I see a lot of each other, sometimes we look right through one another. It is a classic example of taking one another for granted. I’m not proud of that. Busy schedules, fatigue, and laziness all contribute. But so does my sense that I am always the one ‘giving’. Do you think that one person in the relationship is destined to always give more than the other?

    • k,

      Give more? Always?

      I don’t know; that’s a tough one.

      First, may I refer you to PSA II:

      (PSA I was about making the wife’s birthday special.)

      I think women, generally, give more than men. We are more relational in our way of being in the world. We’re always doing something else for someone else, especially if we are wives and mothers. I know part of my problem is wanting my caretaking to be more finite on a daily basis — time for me.

      I’m not saying that is right or wrong. It just kind of is.

      On the other hand, I’m in a marriage with a man who spends all day long giving to others. His time, his advice, his care, his ear, his ideas of what they need and how to get what they need. So when my needs aren’t exactly first on his list, I (try to) understand.

      But if it’s a problem, then I think you have to be able to talk about it. Especially if you feel as if you’re always giving, and not receiving. I would not think that is healthy.

      Feel free to share posts with your husband. I’ve encouraged people to print out PSAs I and II and just hand it over. Sometimes with guys it doesn’t pay to be subtle!

      good luck!


      • I think that is how every relationship works. There is always a giver and a taker. BUT I think the roles change constantly. Like when I went back to work and hubby lost his job he was definitely more of a giver than me. But before I had the baby, I was the giver. Our whole marriage has been back and forth. If I’m crazy busy he is the giver, when I’m not I’m the giver. I think it works well that way.

  2. Excellent post. And so very true. I forget about these simple things sometimes, and these simple things are what make all the difference in a relationship. When I remember, Zach *always* notices, which is both nice and a little sad to realize “am I that NOT nice most of the time?”

    As far as someone always giving more: I don’t think EVERY relationship is destined to be that way. In fact, I think I am in a very equal relationship. He gives more in some ways, and I give more in others.

  3. Very good advice! I will be sure to share with hubby…we both could use a little boost sometimes!

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