Today’s marriage tip comes from our friend Sara. Sara is a prolific author who has written several great books that you can check out here. While this post was written to women, it applies to men just as much and is full of great advice. Hope it’s encouraging to you today!
Do you remember how you felt on your wedding day?
How excited you were? How many butterflies you had in your stomach? How you just could not stop smiling? Did everything go perfectly? Did it all feel perfect, even if it wasn’t?
At our wedding, the ceremony itself went off without any problems. That is, as long as I don’t consider our little red-headed ring-bearer picking his nose the whole time on stage behind us a problem – his side show never made it into the wedding video so I’m choosing to believe it didn’t happen. Everyone else is just lying.
What happened after the ceremony almost burned the church down, though. A fake plant got too close to a still-lit candle arrangement, caught fire and fell to the tile below, smoldering and smoking out the entire sanctuary which forced us to wait to take our post-wedding pictures longer than we’d planned. (It’s also why that church has a no-drip candle policy now.)
You might think I would have been mortified that we almost burned our home church down. But when someone tapped me on the shoulder to tell me as I was standing in our receiving line next to my handsome new husband, I was so crazy happy to finally be married to the man of my dreams, I didn’t realize what actually happened until much later. Like years.
My knight in shining armor had arrived and I couldn’t see or think about anything else.
That is… until the day he did something that irritated me. Or that day he disappointed me. Or that other day he hurt my feelings. Suddenly my knight didn’t look nearly as shiny as he did in the beginning.
Have you been there? Are you there now?
Our conflict with others INCREASES when our own contentment DECREASES. This is particularly true for our marriages. The opposite is true too – When our contentment INCREASES – our conflict with others DECREASES.
Haven’t you noticed that a minor irritation does a really great snowball imitation? It only takes one legitimate frustration to get that little ball started – and very little is required to start everything rolling downhill after that! Now you constantly see everything your husband is doing wrong, and you completely miss what he’s doing right.
We cannot change our spouses. But we can change ourselves – not for our husbands, but for God because He never leaves us as we start out – at the end of the day, He wants us much, much closer to Him. He wants us to be content – in Him. When we’re content in our relationships with Christ, we will find ourselves feeling much more contentment for our marriages.
But it’s not always easy to try being content when you’re struggling in a season of discontentment. But it is possible to move away from discontentment and conflict.
1. Stop the Name-Calling.
If you want to see an increase in your contentment for your marriage, stop calling your spouse names. This means you don’t call him an idiot, stupid, or a jerk among other things – not to his face, and not to your friends. Name-calling doesn’t address the actual problem, and it makes the actual problem a lot worse than it often is.
2. Start Using Positive Words of Affirmation.
There is power in your words, for better or worse, and when we choose to use words that are positive, they don’t just have the potential to bless your husband, they also have the potential to change your own feelings. Choose to compliment your husband on something he does right; thank him for what he does each day for your family; let him know you’re thankful for something specific that he does. If you have trouble thinking of positive words because your feelings are so negative – then start simple – did he go to work today? Then he’s helping provide for your family. Tell him that, and that you’re grateful. The blessings often come once our attitudes are willing to go!
3. Pray for greater understanding.
Ask God to help you find ways to show your husband love, the way God created your husband to receive it.
Normally, we like the prayer suggestion that says “pray for your husband, that God will change his heart.” God can answer that prayer, but I also think that many times, when He hears us asking Him to make big changes to someone else’s heart, He’s thinking, “And when are you going to start with yours?” So start with yours. Spend time praying and ask God to give you insight and a few good steps you can take to minister to your husband that your husband will receive… and receive well.
A heart full of discontent can discover a heart that struggles to forgive. If this is you, I hope you’ll read the first chapter of my new book, How Can I Possibly Forgive, which includes 5 N.O.I.S.E.S that prevent us from hearing God’s voice speaking into our seasons of discontent. Is there one you’re listening to right now? Visit my store for more info.