The Importance of Saying Thank You to Your Partner


The Importance of Saying Thank You to Your PartnerLast week, I took my six-year-old and two-year-old to the dentist. We miraculously made it on time to our 8:45am appointment, walked out of the office by 9:30am, stopped for a treat and were back at their daycare by 9:45am. After work, I picked my kids up, came home, unloaded the dishwasher and helped my husband make dinner. He said he was going to skip dinner so he could head to the gym and would eat when he got back, also mentioning that he would help with the dishes when he returned. While he was out, I made sure the kids ate, cleaned the table, swept the floor, and got them ready for bed. 

When he got home, I gently reminded him of his offer to help with the dishes and he jokingly referred to me as a “slave driver.” It didn’t go over well. I rattled off all of the things I had accomplished that day, and he accused me of keeping score. In truth, I really wasn’t trying to keep score — I was searching for a thank you. If at any point, he’d taken the time to say, “Thank you for taking care of the kids’ dentist appointments and everything else that you do,” I wouldn’t have had to rattle off a list of responsibilities and the entire argument would have been avoided.

During our squabble, I also told my husband two things. One, I am fully aware of how much he contributes, and two, I always take the time to tell him thank you and how much I appreciate him. He gets the kids ready for school almost every morning, packs my daughter’s lunch, puts gas in my car, preheats my car for me in the winter, helps me take care of my dad who has health issues, feeds our cats and cleans their litter box, takes care of the kids when I go out of town for work trips, and so many more things I can’t even think of right now. I feel it is essential in our marriage to tell him thank you, even if it’s 50 times a day or even for something as simple as giving the kids a bath. He will usually respond with something like, “You don’t need to thank me, it’s just part of being a parent.”

But I do need to thank him so he knows that I value him.

In truth, I did a really poor job of communicating to him why I appeared to be keeping score. Sometimes a thank you is just as much as appreciated as doing the dishes (I mean, not all the time, obviously, but when have the words “Thank you” ever gotten you in trouble?!). So take the time today to tell your partner thank you for doing all of the things that you don’t have to ask them to do, especially the things that mothers often feel go overlooked by their significant others, things which usually fall under the “mental load” category such:

  • making dental, vision and doctors’ appointments
  • taking kids to those appointments
  • handling hair cuts and nail trimmings
  • planning vacations and outings
  • packing for those trips
  • securing a babysitter for date nights
  • organizing and purging outgrown clothing and toys
  • planning your kids’ birthday parties
  • shopping for birthday presents
  • taking your kids to other kids’ birthday parties
  • organizing and storing important household documents
  • planning or shopping for school functions and special school days
  • checking homework folders
  • keeping up with family schedules and calendars
  • grocery shopping, meal planning and ensuring kids have a balanced diet
  • changing bed sheets and bathroom towels
  • making the arrangements for extracurricular activities and sports (registrations, etc.)
  • scheduling family photo sessions and displaying those precious memories around the house
  • shopping for holidays (Easter baskets, Christmas lists, etc.)
  • the ENTIRE month of May if you have a school-aged child

And ladies, don’t ever forget to tell your significant other thank you for mowing the yard, cleaning the gutters, changing light bulbs, getting your oil changed, calling repair people, or any other number of things that might not be on your radar! 


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