When 3M made the Sticky Note they must have known there would be a myriad of uses for this unique and simple product, but I would be surprised if they included improving marriages as one of their expected uses. Do you currently use sticky notes to improve or sustain your marriage?
I have never been the touchy feely type. Learning to be passionate, sentimental, or empathetic has been a challenging journey for me. None of these things come naturally to me, but I learned long ago that I needed to change and evolve for my marriage to strengthen.
With the busyness of life pulling us in a million directions, it can be challenging to make time for our spouse and the nurturing of our marriage. The little things do matter, and one “little thing” we can do to nurture our marriage is to communicate with the sticky note! A simple sticky note placed strategically can brighten our spouse’s day and quickly and simply tell them they matter to us.
Have you ever placed a note in your child’s lunch box? This is a similar concept.
Currently, there is a sticky note on the mirror above my husband’s sink that reads “I love you. Thank you for loving me.” I placed it there about 7 days ago. It was late at night, I had gotten up for a drink of water and remembered something I needed to do the next day. I grabbed a sticky note to make a note for myself, but before I put the pad back in the drawer I decided to write a note for my husband. I am not sure when my husband will choose to remove the note from his bathroom mirror, but I choose to believe that every day for the past 7 days when he brushes his teeth he sees this simple message in my handwriting reminding him that I do love him. For me, I like to see that he keeps the sticky note around for a while. I like knowing he sees it daily and it makes me wonder if the first simple sticky note years ago might have helped to change the course of our marriage? I may never know, but I am so glad I tried.
For some people the idea of doing this is an easy task. For others this is almost impossible. You might be thinking, “this is uncomfortable,” or “I would never do this.” I can totally relate. Remember, I was never the touchy feely type and this definitely feels like a touchy feely activity!! Another thing that might be holding you back is that your marriage is not in a good place; it is hard to think of anything to write that would be positive and most importantly true!!! I can relate to this too! When I started this process it was when things were really bad between us, I wasn’t sure I loved my husband any more and even the sight of his feet made my stomach turn (if things are this bad, I know you know what I mean). Beginning this activity for me was not an expression of love but the act of a desperate woman. I desperately wanted to save my marriage; I was willing to try anything (as long as it was legal and moral). So when it was suggested to me that I write a sticky note to my husband, I had no idea what to write but I did know I wanted to try. My first sticky note I placed on my husband’s steering wheel in the car and it said “Have a Good Day”. It was not a “love” sticky note because I did not have any love to share, but I knew I needed to start someplace. This simple saying “Have a Good Day” was a non-threatening, simple, yet caring thing I could say. For the longest time my sticky notes were these non-threatening, simple words. Gradually, as our marriage strengthened, my notes changed to be more emotion filled or loving. Today I can be very thoughtful, loving and even juicy at times, meaning every word. So there is hope for you too!!
But why would I do something that does not come natural to me? Shouldn’t my spouse love me for who I am, instead of me having to manufacture or change who I am to love them? Why should I do something that can only happen with a lot of effort? This is a problem with how the world sees love. The world tries to tell us that love is an emotion or feeling that is romantic, blissful, and effortless. We start to buy into this idea and the next thing we know we have stopped “trying” in our marriage. It is the lack of effort that causes our marital flame to die. Sure, the bliss might be gone and our relationship might take effort, but I guarantee that if you speak to any couple married longer than 50 years, none of them would say that their marital happiness has been effortless; they will all say that it took effort, sacrifice, and patience to keep the marital flame burning. My husband and I have weathered many a storm and made it through some impossible times and there was a long, long, long period where the love and bliss where definitely gone. But the exciting thing is that we do have love and bliss today and it is a deeper love, a deeper bliss. Our bliss comes from a deep connection that exists between us because of the fire that God helped us through. I just want to shout from the mountain top: “DO NOT GIVE UP, PUT IN THE EFFORT, GOD WILL NOT LET YOUR MARRIAGE FAIL.” But today, I am simply saying: “Try the simple, sticky note.”
Places you can put a sticky note: You want to place your sticky note in a place your spouse will see it as they go about their normal activities. Here are some suggestions as to where you might put them:
Car Steering Wheel
Favorite Activity – crafting table, golf clubs, etc
Toilet Seat Lid (when it is open) – this one for those of you with a little humor
What you might write on your sticky note to your spouse:
I love you
I miss you already
Thank you for being my husband/wife
You are a great husband/wife
Thank you for putting up with me
You matter to me
Cannot wait to see you tonight
I think you are awesome
I believe in you
For those of you that need the non-threatening, simple suggestions:
Enjoy your day
Have a Good Day
Good Luck with your _____
You are a great dad/mom
Thanks for all you do for our family
How often should you write a note? As often as you want, but if this is new to you and you need a little prodding, try once a week and see if it changes anything between the two of you after you have tried this for a couple months.
What if my spouse does not return the favor with sticky notes for me? This is a wonderful question. No matter the state of your marriage, if we are only doing things because we want something in return then we are doomed to fail from the start. Changing our attitude and learning to be of service to our spouse is not an easy thing to do, but it is necessary for our marriages to grow and strengthen as God intends them. So if you find yourself looking for something in return, catch yourself and say to yourself “This is for them, from my heart, I need nothing in return!” Don’t beat yourself up if this describes you; it was once how I felt too. I can totally relate. It was a painful road learning to be of service to my husband. Humility was not my strongest of virtues. I prayed for God to change my heart to be more of a servant, to be more humble. You too can learn to soften your heart for your spouse. God will help you grow and change as needed for your marriage, you just have to be open to it.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Eph 4:2
Suggested Prayer: Lord, you are the master of everything, including the master of words. Help me to craft a simple message for my spouse, one that serves them and honors you. In it’s simplicity let my note speak volumes and change both of our hearts. Amen
Suggested Action: Begin placing sticky note messages for your spouse at least once a week, give it at least a 2 month try. Then see if it changes anything between the two. I would love to hear any of your stories of how this worked for you.
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