The two words are …thank you.
My profession has stressed the importance of communication, specifically clearly communicating your needs and wants. We have told you over and over that it is so important for you to tell your spouse what you need and not expect him/her to be a mind-reader. Unfortunately this has set many people up for frustration, disappointment, and a terrible anger that simmers away, threatening to erupt at the slightest opportunity.
If you have told your husband you would like jewelry for your birthday and he gives you a vacuum cleaner, it is tempting to think that he just doesn’t care and never listens, etc. It is tempting to see that gift as an insult and a way of him withholding his love from you. Perhaps you might even see it as a thinly veiled comment on your lack of housekeeping skills.
Another option is to say “thank you”.
When you ask for one thing and receive another you have two choices: you can become angry that you didn’t get what you wanted, or you can choose say thank you and train yourself to be grateful for the gifts life offers you.
You can say thank you even if you don’t mean it.
This is not deception or manipulation. It is an act of your will to acknowledge someone’s offering to you, even if you don’t like the gift, and even if you are feeling hurt and angry. This scenario is not much different from a child who learns to eat what is on his/her plate for dinner rather than throwing a fit because (s)he didn’t get fish sticks, which is what (s)he really wanted. You can say thank you even when you don’t get what you want.
How does that change your life you ask? Because…
- Over time saying thank you keeps you open to receive.
- Saying thank you helps you understand that it is best to treat your spouse with civility and kindness even when (s)he gets it wrong.
- Eventually your feelings will catch up to your words and you will feel more gratitude and less frustration in your life.
Your anger will gradually melt away and you will have more room in your life for love, which is really what we all want. Saying thank you helps you to be free and to live the life you want (and it is a lot simpler and more effective than trying to get your spouse, or anyone else for that matter, to do what you want.)