The challenge: Once a week, for 10 weeks, choose one emotionally descriptive word that positively describes my wife.
- As a man, I broke through the boundaries of emotional simplicity and began to explore emotional complexity.
- This challenge forces me to positively define my wife. By doing this, I have to accept what I positively say to be true. Thus, it being written in black and white, the things I write become a permanent fixture here and most likely in the minds of the readers – including her.
- Growth. Always growth.
Here is week eight.
This is another of those words that does not seem terribly emotionally evocative, but it is. Modernity has lost, in large part, the art of gratitude. We thank people, but too often the thankfulness ends with the words. We feel that we have dispatched our duty and move along.
My wife is not thus. She will not only thank me for the things I do (things which are, I suspect, woefully inadequate), but will go on to praise these actions to others. The gratitude does not end with me being thanked, but with an appreciation that carries over into other places. It is an abiding gratitude.
I would be lying if I said that it was an all-the-time state of being — everyone has off days and bad days and just plain days — but it is her habitual state.
This gets into emotional territory when you realize how much men like to be recognized and appreciated for what we do. People in general respond to positive reinforcement. Thank us for doing something and we are more likely to do it again, if only to be thanked again; to be appreciated again. Emily Dickinson wrote a poem about success that included this observation: “To comprehend a nectar / Requires sorest need.” No one is quite so able to appreciate gratitude as one who does not often meet with it. I am not gratitude deprived — not by any stretch of the imagination — but my wife is nonetheless grateful for what I do and takes pains to express that gratitude. It may seem a little thing, but it works wonders for my ability to motivate myself to continue to do those things in future.