Saturday, May 27, 2006

What you do three times ...

You should do things for your spouse. Thanks and appreciation should be active, actions, not just words.

But, anything you do three times ceases to be new and becomes what is expected. So, we both have the chores split up, and I send my spouse to bed and mop the kitchen floor for her. The first time it demonstrates love. The second time in a row, it is neat. The third time in a row, it has become part of my half of the chores.

Instead, the first time it shows love. The next time, I pick something else to do. That way I am able to communicate "I love you" rather than "I should be doing this."

BTW, a friend pointed out that I should refer to these things as recipes -- a better metaphor than others.

In that line, I would add that small gestures, repeated, are much better than grand gestures, rarely done. At least if you want your spouse to feel happy and nourished. You get more credit and attention for a grand gesture, but that is really something you are doing for yourself. If you are doing it for someone else, a number of small gestures, repeated thoughtfulness and kindness, small gestures work better.

A single flower one day, a special food or candy on another, washing the sheets a day early and making all the beds in the house the third, won't impress anyone like a dozen long stemmed roses, but they will make your spouse happier and more nurtured. Especially in times of struggle or grief or loss, you need to nurture each other, care for each other, be kind and reliable for each other. Leave the grand gestures to people who don't know any better or who need attention themselves, and focus on tenderness and patient nurturing.


Anonymous said...

I think the three rule may apply to a lot of things. However, I think you can keep mopping the floor or cleaning the kitchen on occassion and each time it will be very appreciated. When a woman does her chores such as cleaning the kitchen day in and day out, family should take a little notice and appreciate it. Even if something is a chore, we need to respect others for their effort. I really do not see 3 creating a set pattern or making anything written in stone that such a thing is a chore. In fact, for menial or unpleasant tasks that you do not like doing, there is no maximum on how many times you can do that to show love, in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I guess if you are looking for the surprise element/spontaniety/ romance, then you got a shake things up and change 'em up. Let him or her know that you love them enough to be creative.

I know an older woman who told me that her husband made her pancakes every Sunday and I think she added whether she wants them or not. From her expression, she did not seem to find extreme romance in this, but still appreciated her husband being consistent.

I better step out of this thread and let the people who actually have someone in their life speak up.

Stephen said...


You can do it a lot, you just can't do it three times in a row.

So, mop the floors one time, do a bunch of laundry the next, clean out the toilets, etc. I do a lot of laundry, I mop and clean counters and do dishes (sometimes its my part of the chores, sometimes an extra), just not three in a row.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you posted your response when I was posting mind so I had to step back in to say, I get it now! Thanks!

Stephen said...

Hmm, I used to do blueberry muffins every Sunday ... the kids liked it, my wife doesn't like blueberry muffins ;)

So, now I do waffles or something similar.

Lisa M. said...

I think you have a point, Ethesis.

Have you heard/read about the five love languages? I am curious to know your thoughts on that?

I'm going to try this, and see if I can find a way to shake things up a bit.

Stephen said...

I'd love to hear more abou the five love languages.

Anonymous said...

I was on an airplane recently, stuck on the tarmac as we awaited clearance from ATC. In the 45 minutes we had to wait, I hand wrote 7 cards to people I wanted to reach out to.

Two and a half hours later, as we landed, my seat-mate said, "I bet those people you wrote to sure appreciate the cards."

In fact, each of the 7 cards I wrote that day were to strangers (sent anonymously); they were store and restaurant owners, authors and artists, and one neighbor back in California.

Interesting, I didn't write to the person sitting next to me, but I think I gave them something to think about...