I once heard someone say that a woman’s greatest fear is to become invisible, and a man’s greatest fear is to become insignificant.
As applied to marriage, this makes sense, because if my husband were to list out the things he needed (and expected) from me, I believe that the need to feel appreciated would be right at the very top.
That’s a vague—yet extremely critical—concept. Hold that thought for a moment.
In a recent survey that I conducted, I found that women over 35 really want to know more about how to truly connect with their spouses. Because over time, disconnecting things happen—kids grow up, the aging process takes its toll, roles change, friends come and go, and life can get very lonely and hard.
So how do you stay connected to your spouse as the years go by?
I believe there is one simple constant that can bring spouses closer together, even as the calendar year changes. Something that time can’t take away.
It’s the ability to take a moment to appreciate our spouses—and to tell them why we appreciate them.
We can easily dwell on the things that we don’t like about our life partners, especially as the years pass. But what about the things we do like? This past weekend, I started thinking about everything I appreciate about my husband, and I realized that he probably doesn’t know the half of it, because most of these things I’ve never told him.
So I took out a pen and paper, and as I love to do, I starting writing. Here’s what I said:
Five years ago, I could not possibly have known what life had in store for me. I was recently divorced—a single mom in a very dark place, burdened with judgment and shame, sure that the light in my life was forever gone—and that nothing could possibly bring it back again. I worried constantly about my future. I writhed in guilt over my children and what they were experiencing. And then I met you and your amazing blue eyes.
I write this to remind you of how wonderful you really are. You took a broken woman and three terrified children and sewed a beautiful new life for us with your selflessness and kindness and healing spirit. You restored my faith in men, in marriage, and really, in all of humankind. You showed my children that females are not objects, that I don’t have to compete with younger women in shorter skirts, and that every one of my flaws is just one more thing to love. You showed them that wrinkles and extra pounds and long, hard years filled with adversity aren’t reasons to leave, but reasons to cherish the time that you have left with your spouse here on earth. You showed us how to make things better, not worse. In short, you showed us all what it means to be a good man—to love your woman and your family with your whole heart and protect them fiercely, no matter what changes life may bring.
For these things, I am eternally grateful. And for you, I am beyond thankful.
Marriage can be hard work. A simple appreciation letter, written to your spouse from time to time, might just make it a little easier.
And now I’m curious… what would you say in your letter?