Marriage Aids From 3M
OTHERS, AS WELL AS MY WIFE, CHIDE ME for too infrequently saying, "I love You." It's true that I don't run around in public shouting this little phrase day and night, in fair weather and foul. Certainly it's true and there are good reasons for it.
It was the way I was brought up. In my family we didn't say it. About the closest we came was when we wrote letters to each other. After one of us had finished what he had to say in the body of the letter he would drop down a couple of spaces for the complimentary close and write l-o-v-e followed by a comma, and under that his name. Of course even that was pro forma. Our relationships didn't have much goo in them.
But let me be careful that you don't misunderstand me. Ours was not an emotionally cold family, it was the opposite. It was a large family of aunts and uncles and cousins that frequently gathered together, and at those times there would be a lot of hugging and kissing and so on. I remember what a variety of tastes my aunts' lipsticks had, and anybody with a memory such as this surely had a reasonably secure childhood.
And I did. I never felt deprived that somebody wasn't forever pummeling me with "I-love-you's." In fact I sort of got the idea that such was for Hollywood or for the chronically immature or for cry babies who needed their hands constantly held. I knew when I was loved just as I knew when the sun was out. I could feel the warm radiation directly on my skin and didn't need anybody to reassure me that it was there.
Well now that's my background and it of course accounts for the way I think and act today. But apparently everybody's background isn't the same as mine because some people I know-- I'm not sure exactly what their mothers may have told them at an early age-- believe that if you don't say the magic words, why then you don't love them. Or at least it's questionable whether you really love them. This difference in upbringing can provide contrast and interest in a marriage, sometimes more than that minimum needed to sustain vitality.
These simple thoughts were brought to a focus for me a few days ago in a surprising way. The catalyst was a product of the Commercial Tape Division of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, a company better known as 3M. The product is their Scotch Note Pad 655. This note pad is made up with little yellow sheets of three by five inches, which as you know is the same as 76.2 by 127.0 millimeters.
Note Pad 655 is more remarkable than it sounds. Its unusual feature is that along the top of the backside of each sheet is a narrow strip of adhesive with just the right amount of stickum to keep it stuck to anything you want it to stick to, but that also allows you to easily unstick it without damaging whatever it was stuck on. I had seen offices with these bits of yellow reminders plastered all around-- on walls, on telephones, on desks-- and I thought they might be helpful in our struggle to get organized at home.
One afternoon I came home with one of the note pads and tried to explain the idea to my wife but I got a blank look. She needed a demonstration. Because I couldn't think of any particularly good simulated message, I scrawled across one of the sheets " Martha, I love you!"-- then signed it, peeled it off and stuck it to the back of an old oak chair.
Boy! Not only did my wife grasp instantly the concept of Note Pad 655, but she also got my message. My demonstration was followed by an unusually good supper and that was followed by an extraordinarily fine evening at home, I being accorded all the amenities due a hero.
The next day I took the same little yellow sheet and stuck it on the hood over the stove. The day after I moved it to the door of the cabinet under the oven. In the following days I stuck it to the window over the sink, to the box of salt in the high cabinet over the stove, to a few other places, and finally to the bottle of grapefruit juice in the refrigerator.
It was remarkably effective. The adhesive kept on doing its job time after time, and my home life grew progressively more harmonious and satisfying. After spending the night in the refrigerator the yellow slip was indeed a little wilted, but there are 100 of them on a single pad, so it can be safely retired.
3M boasts of being an innovative company, and I'm about convinced that they are. They are really on to something with their Note Pad 655-- possibly a little more than they know.