One of the best pieces of marriage advice I ever received was to keep a “Love Notebook“, in which I would detail every single thing my wonderful husband does for me, every day.
Every little thing that was thoughtful or sweet, no matter how small, was to be documented. I thought it seemed a little extreme, but the woman who suggested I create a Love Notebook wouldn’t explain why. “Trust me, just do it” was all she would say.
So I bought a little notepad and started to fill it up.
“Checked my gas gauge and filled my car with gas for me”.
“Picked up Chinese so I wouldn’t have to make dinner”.
“Got up early and made himself cereal so I could sleep in”.
Within a week my notepad became worn from use, and it was falling apart. I started to forget to put things down because there was just so much he did for me. And then it hit me:
Lesson One: My husband does a lot more for me than I ever really appreciated or noticed. When I started to pay attention, it was overwhelming.
I realized a little note pad wouldn’t cut it, so I bought a notebook, a pretty notebook with lined pages and a pink pen to write with. And I started over.
The Love Notebook started to become full very quickly again:
“Picked up my favorite gourmet teas”.
“Called from work just to tell me he loved me”.
“Passed on buying himself a new game so he could take me out instead”.
Eventually I came to the end of the book, I didn’t start a new one because I felt as though I would have a library of books in no time…just not practical. Instead, I saved it in my top drawer, and anytime I became mad at him, I took it out and read it. I was reminded that this is a man who does so much for me, from big things to small, every single day. What I was mad about was probably insignificant in comparison (and it always was).
Lesson Two: If I remember how wonderful he is when I’m mad, I realize I really don’t have much to be mad about.
The biggest thing the Love Notebook taught me was to notice relationships in general. I watch couples, I always ask questions when I meet new couples (“How did you meet? How did he propose?”) I’m just fascinated by relationships, courtship, love, romantic interactions. It’s fascinating, and I’m always learning. And noticing.
I noticed that a lot of women don’t really appreciate their husbands. We forget that he just carried our groceries to the car while we walked empty handed, and we ignore that he got up early to scrape the ice off our car, because we are focused on something he did wrong or that we didn’t like. We tend to focus on one negative thing instead of five positive.
Lesson Three: If we noticed the good stuff more, the things he does to show his love, we’d be much happier, and much less likely to look for things to be angry about.
I would encourage married women to create and keep a Love Notebook. It will open your eyes to the things your husband does that you don’t pay attention to. If you think your husband never does anything for you, this project is especially for you. I promise you will be amazed once you start to pay attention.
And when you appreciate him, he will do more for you because he wants to make you happy, and just wants to be appreciated for it.
Start one today, and save it. When you are upset with him, reread a bit to remember how much he does for you. Keep it as a memento of your love for years to come, and one day share it with your children. Tell them what a great man their dad is, and how he showed you he loved you in all these small ways.
(and if you are really good, keep going with more than one Love Notebook once you fill up the first one… a record of your love over the years. i think i’ll start a new one myself)