Monday, March 16, 2009
Gimmicks Aren't All Bad
I have never been a big believer in using “gimmicks” to improve my marriage or family life–they have always seemed a little contrived and “forced” to me. I have tended to be a little cynical about these seemingly simplistic, superficial ways to show love to family members–when there are deeper issues that need to be addressed. For example, in the past I have been terrible about giving flowers to my wife because foolishly I reasoned, “I am married to an expert gardener. Giving her more flowers is like giving Bill Gates some free software!”
But I received an email from All-Pro Dads a couple of weeks ago and read what Dr. Ken Canfield wrote about giving my wife a note for every letter in the alphabet praising her. For example, the first note would be something like, “A is for adventurous. I appreciate that you have an adventurous spirit about you. I love the way you are willing to take risks and try new things, for example, when you tried parasailing. I love that about you. Love, Jamie” I had some bright yellow sticky notes so I started putting them up in different places each new day.
As I have moved through the alphabet I have found something really cool happening with this. First, it has helped my attitude, the way that I see her and think about her. If you live with someone for 35 years as I have, it is so easy to take for granted the tremendous gifts and traits that your wife possesses. This has really helped me focus upon having an “attitude of gratitude” about the wonderful qualities of Cindy. Then, of course, doing this has encouraged her. How? I think it calls out the qualities that she has but she doesn’t fully recognize that she has, as well as how much I and other family members appreciate them.
Yes, it is kind of corny, but she has been a good sport with it and I think she actually looks forward to receiving a new note in the morning stuck somewhere on the bathroom mirror. So maybe a gimmick such as this isn’t a bad idea after all. As long as it supplements the harder work that resolving conflict and building oneness takes and doesn’t attempt to substitute for it—I’ve got my sticky notes all over it.