Two, Four, Six, Eight, Who Do We Appreciate?

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(This is an excerpt from the book I Hope You Know How Much I Love You: And Other Advice for a Happier Life.)

A wonderful question to ask oneself is, “What is it like to be married to me?” If I were married to me, would I be happy? Would I love being around me? Am I fun to be with?

My wife and I attended a BYU Campus Education Week seminar on marriage taught by Dr. Charles Beckert. He wrote three words on the blackboard, which we’ve never forgotten:

Appreciate / Expect / Demand

He mentioned that when we are first married, we appreciate everything. “Thanks for making dinner, thanks for putting away the dishes, thanks for cleaning the windshield, thanks, thanks, thanks!”

However, over time, we come to expect behavior that initially we appreciated. You’ve always done this before, so you should keep doing it now, we think.

Then, it gets worse. What we’ve come to expect, we begin to demand. “Where’s my dinner?” “Why don’t I have any clean socks this morning?” “You were supposed to put gas in my car.”

Appreciate, expect, or demand? We got the message. And in that workshop, my wife and I decided to try to stay on “appreciate,” and never move to “expect.”

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