I had big plans for my blog today. It’s Pay it Forward Friday to honor our friend Karen Sutherland’s late husband, Hugh. Today is his birthday. I committed to honoring Pay it Forward Friday with several posts this week about acts of kindness and gratitude.

Karen writes lovingly about her husband and their relationship. What better way could I honor she and her husband than to devote todays post to my appreciation for my husband, John and our marriage.

Then it happened about 20 minutes ago. John acted in a way and said things that really pissed me off. Nothing horrible was said. It was just a disagreement. But it was a disagreement with interrupting. Between my daughter who interrupts constantly and my husband who interrupts frequently, this has been a hot button for me for many years. Actually, interruptions are not bad per se but the ones that change the subject or serve to confuse communication happen far too frequently.

But you know what? I’m going to appreciate my husband, anyway.

John, thank you for being my best friend for the past 27 years. You are a wonderful companion, have curiosity about the world, are compassionate, and are damned funny. I had long thought that any romantic, passionate relationship that I had would need a basis in friendship to last. And so far, I am right about that!

Thank you for being a wonderful father. I still remember your absolute and unbridled joy at becoming a dad. You have one of the closest relationships I’ve ever seen a father have with his teen daughter. There are times that I envy that but mostly I’m just happy for the two of you.

Thank you for being excellent at your job and for your financial contributions to our family. You work more hours than I do and make more money. You carry the health insurance for the family.

I have such gratitude to you for being so good to my extended family. They love you a great deal but I also know that there are a lot of them!

Thank you for supporting my career aspirations and education. I remember when people would say to me, “Your husband is so nice to LET you get a Ph.D.” They were right about the “nice” part but for the wrong reasons. Thank you for not acting as if I needed your permission to be a highly educated woman.

Thank you for supporting my friendships and my life outside of our family. Thanks for being such an eager host for our many social gatherings. Despite your natural introversion, you have a demeanor that puts others at ease, you are a wonderful conversationalist, and help people have a great time.

Thank you for your forgiveness, time and time again for the times I have hurt you, often unintentionally but more often than I would like to admit, I have hurt you purposely. I have acted selfishly out of fear, lashed out in times of stressed, and stayed distant at times I felt most vulnerable and hurt. You have loved me through all of this. You have always been open to working on our marriage for the health and happiness of the both of us as well as maintaining a strong foundation for our daughter.

Thank you for taking a chance on me. I know that when we met and even when we were getting married, your frame of reference was one in which people didn’t stay married for more than a few years.

Thank you for letting me expose our relationship, bumps and all, in my writing. It shows trust in the strength of our relationship as well as your kindness in hoping that sharing our lives may help others.

I had a psychotherapy appointment today. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the work I put into being a happy person. I told Rebecca that at times, I wonder if I make life too complicated since I work so hard at happiness. But I also told her that I realized that I have the CAPACITY for happiness and that is a big deal. Yes, I work hard but I know how to be a generally happy person.

She made a really interesting observation, a profound one I think. “Elizabeth, you have a lot of happiness in your life. Because you have so much, being mindful of all of it from the smallest flowers to the love in your marriage, is a lot of work.”

I said, “Oh it’s like happy money! I have to work hard because I have so much to count.”

Finally, Karen I am so sorry that you lost Hugh. I am so sorry for your cancers and your suffering. I so appreciate you. I know that in your sadness and suffering, you are growing stronger. You are a very kind and resilient person with much loving wisdom that you have shared with us. I consider not only your friendship a gift but also your relationship with your dear husband. Your love for him has always been incredibly apparent and incredibly strong. But the reality of the difficulties of living even with a soul mate, have always come through in your writing. I have felt encouraged and validated by the real, loving picture you have drawn, bumps and all.