One store manager couldn’t help noticing that a certain gardener would come in every two months, buy twenty tokens at a time, and then make one call after another until he had used them all up.
One time, the manager couldn’t help overhearing the gardener, whose opening line was identical with each call. He spoke hoarsely and his speech went like this:
“Hello! I am a professional gardener looking for work. Does your building need a good gardener? I am very thorough, dependable, and have excellent recommendations from past customers. If you already have a gardener, I will charge twenty percent less than what he takes.”
The manager could hear each voice on the other end invariably turning down his offer. “No thanks. We have an excellent gardener, and all the neighbors of the building are very satisfied with his work. He’s worth every penny he takes.”
This dialogue repeated itself twenty times, each with a rebuff. All of the customers were happy with their own gardener.
The manager’s heart went out to the poor fellow who wasn’t getting anywhere and decided to employ him in his own garden, even though he enjoyed the work and usually did it himself. He turned to the man and said, “I couldn’t help hearing that you’re looking for gardening work. I have a small garden and could use someone like you. Could you come and give me an estimate?
The gardener looked at him and smiled. “I’m really sorry to disappoint you but I have a full schedule and can’t take on any new customers.”
The manager looked at him in utter surprise. “But I heard you making call after call, asking for work!”
He chuckled. “I’m not looking for new customers at all. The people I just called are already my clients and I’m their gardener. But I never hear a good word from them. They don’t even recognize my voice. They just leave my pay in a mailbox and I have no contact with them. I call them just to hear a good word about my work. It feels nice to hear that I’m appreciated, that I’m worth the money they pay me, and that they wouldn’t think of hiring someone else, even if it would save them money.”
The above lesson is all the more true within the home between spouses. A woman may suggest a fault or shortcoming of hers, like, “I think that maybe the food isn’t spiced enough.”
In truth, she’s fishing for compliments; she wants her husband to tell her that on the contrary, dinner was excellent. If he does, she will smile to herself, and think, That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.
A husband who remembers to compliment and praise his wife is actually doing a big mitzvah. Not only is he generating love for him in her heart but he’s also generating incentive in her to please him, a benefit to the entire family.
And all of this goodness starts from one place: the mouth!
Adapted from ‘Happily Married – The Complete Guide to a Successful Jewish Marriage’ by Rabbi Zamir Cohen. Click Here to Buy Now