Everybody needs something to look forward to. Whether going out to lunch with a girlfriend or planning a trip with your spouse, looking ahead to something enjoyable is the quintessential idea that hope floats. And it does. It floats us through the mundane of everyday life. It floats us over the rough days and helps us land a little more softly.
Unfortunately for me, I have a naturally hope-less personality. Not hopeless, as in constant despair, but I lose hope easily when things get overwhelming and difficult. It’s one of the many lovely traits I carry with me, and constantly try to work on. As a side note, making gratitude lists are what help me combat this the most, but that’s for another post. My husband saw this trait in me, probably early on in our marriage. Not wanting to call too much attention to it, and cause further hopelessness, he began doing small things to make sure I had things to look forward to. For instance, I am deeply in love with crunchy mint m&m’s. He taught me the value of having a handful at the end of every day. It’s really the idea that they are there when needed. Whenever I find them at the store, I buy them because they are almost always sold out, and running out is a bit of a crisis in my mind. Little did I know that my husband had hidden multiple family size packages, until a day when I ran out and went a little crazy. He immediately went to his stash and assured me he would always have my back, even with something as ridiculous as m&m’s.
One year, when I was riddled with health problems and fighting depression, he researched and discovered that the act of snuggling with someone can help the body heal. From that day on, he made it his duty to come home each day from work and pronounce those first few minutes as snuggle time. Years later, we still value our snuggle time, and I look forward to it, knowing it will help keep the hopelessness at bay.
We also have been blessed with a lot of kids and getting away isn’t the easiest, but we typically try to make sure we have a short getaway by ourselves every year to celebrate our marriage. I absolutely love and look forward to this event, even though I rarely know when it’s going to happen. With busy teenagers, a few young adults, and a little caboose, we only have a few weekends a year that the stars align. My husband makes it a priority to plan these getaways, and when the world starts to fall apart, he casually mentions the date of our next one and tells me to put it on the calendar. Part of the anticipation is getting details out of him little by little, beginning with which state we’ll be visiting, what city, and if I’m lucky, which B&B.
My mom used to call this her carrot at the end of a long work day. Unless you’re a rabbit, a carrot probably won’t do the trick. But looking forward to a dip in the hot tub, a good book, or some really divine chocolate makes all the difference. It makes work go quicker, problems seem smaller, and helps hope continue on the up and up. Just a little advance planning and a sensitive spouse is all it takes to keep hope afloat.