A few weeks ago I had a series of interviews for a possible job, and I was fairly exhausted when I arrived home. So I had two cups of coffee and realized I would not sleep until 2 AM, which meant saying goodnight to my wife and spending the late hours writing alone on the couch in another part of the house, as a sort of self-imposed exile so the glow of the Mac wouldn’t keep her awake.
As I said goodnight to her, I kissed her, and I moved to leave the bedroom, but she held my hand a moment. I turned back, and she smiled and said, “You did good today.”
To say that I was encouraged is a gross understatement, akin to saying that the earth has water on it sometimes. I was not merely uplifted but overwhelmed by the words and the assurance they carried. I know that may sound very strange, as though I should always know she feels that way and the vocalization shouldn’t have any real impact. But it does.
Words of support are a funny thing. Oftentimes when we receive them, we know the other person’s feelings toward us beforehand, and we do not doubt them in the least, but hearing their affirmation when unsolicited, well, it is a rush of emotional adrenaline. I feel this effect is compounded based on the depth of the relationship to the person from whom said encouragement is given.
I wonder if spouses (or parents and siblings for that matter) on average know the power of their words to uplift or, contrastingly, destroy. Inasmuch as they may recognize and avoid the reality of the latter, I would wager that they often forget the value of the former. We become complacent too often in regards to uplifting others, particularly those we see day in and day out, whose virtues and goodness we get used to and take for granted.
That being said, I would encourage you all to voice to your spouse (or those closest to you) more than your love but your pride in who they are, in what they accomplish, or in how hard they work. Do it when its not solicited or expected. Do it with your voice, not with a card; let them hear it with your sincerity and unique inflections. And do this often. You never know, you may just make their week without doing much at all.
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