How often have you thanked someone only to hear the popular “Not a problem.” I assume that means it didn’t cause any problems to accommodate my request. It’s a phrase that has come into common usage, especially in restaurants, but I’ve never gotten used to it.
Occasionally, we have someone who accommodates our specific request with “It was my pleasure,” meaning “it gives me pleasure to give good service to you.” This sense of service is now so uncommon that we take secret delight in hearing the phrase. Pleasure in giving good service in any relationship is an added value and always welcomed. Don’t you feel better when you receive and give pleasure?
Lately, I’ve been providing some needed services to my wife, Raye, who had hip joint replacement surgery on September 25th. I spent a night in her hospital room making sure her needs were attended to, looked into rehab facilities one afternoon, made sure one resident physician did his job after an urgent call from her, and generally made sure I was “available.” I can’t say it was pleasurable, but I did feel I did what was needed to make her stays more comfortable. I was there for her and she really appreciated it. That was my pleasure.
When Raye came home from rehab two weeks after surgery, she still needed much attending to and I was able to take time from practicing to provide some needed home services and coordinated a list of people who offered to help. There were some fun and warm moments between us when I was providing certain services, like gently messaging her thigh when it was in pain or when she needed lotion applied to her legs and cute toes after showering. When she thanked me I responded with “It was my pleasure.” She got it.
I also made meals, washed and ironed some of her clothes, kept the house tidy so she wouldn’t trip with her walker or cane over the “stuff” I can leave about, coordinated calls offering to help out and I can’t tell you the number of times I hauled her portable wheel chair out of the trunk to take her where she needed to go. Going out of your way for someone, is always appreciated. Going out of your way for someone you love and loves you adds good memories to a life together.
Have you been there, will you be there, for your partner when they actually need you? Do you want to be there? Will it cause tension or will you feel good about providing needed help, even when it’s an inconvenience. Will there be pleasure in giving service.
Real problems should bring couples closer together, not further apart. I hear a lot of concerns about this in my office. “Not being there” feels like a betrayal whether the “missing” spouse is male or female. Bitterness about feeling abandoned in their legitimate needs is a leading reason couples seek counseling. Don’t let each other down –again!
Raye is now rapidly becoming more independent and welcomes her recovery as I do. More of my time is my own again. But something obviously special happened during this time together. The pleasures experienced give us courage to face our aging. That’s no small accomplishment!