And yet, being around our spouses seems to bring out our worst at times. The familiarity breeds this spirit of criticism and harshness within our four walls. Words can shoot out like grenades and wound one another. Grace is often replaced with brutality as we spit out looks and words that leave lasting scars.
This is what we all need. Not just as married people but as human beings. Instead of focusing on the things that bring discontentment and dissatisfaction, we must find that sparkle of hope, that bit of beauty in the moment to get us to the next.
When we appreciate our spouses and embrace all their peculiarities and annoyances with thankfulness, then we are truly showing love. Not just to them. But to God, the One who made them.
Can we just call ungratefulness what it really is?
You are telling your spouse that they are not good enough.
More so, you are telling God that HE is not good enough. You are saying He has not supplied what He should have in a spouse. Ouch. That truth hurts me a little too much.
Sometimes knowing you should be grateful and actually applying it are two very different things. But here are some things that I keep running through my heart and mind when the unthankfulness begins to take over.
They are here
Don’t ever take for granted that your mate is actually with you. Our family knows too well that one doctor visit can change your entire life. One car accident. One heart attack. There are many people who so desperately wish they could grumble over the things their spouse does, but they can’t because he or she is gone. You are not promised tomorrow with anyone. Keeping that perspective really helps to wipe away the non-essentials and focus on what is important.
Sometimes it’s just best to laugh
We all have our quirks. And it’s amazing how cute they are in the beginning of a relationship and how they slowly change into annoyances and frustrations. We find it so much easier to laugh about these things than to bicker about them in our house.
An example of this comes in the form of wool socks. (Why am I always talking about laundry?)
Peter has kept these worn out, old wool socks for years. They have sat in the same box through 4 moves and it really bugged me. I mean, I just didn’t get why he couldn’t just throw them away. We had fights over some socks, people. It sounds so silly now, but at the time, when I allowed myself to get all heated and worked up, things ended in disaster. Feelings were hurt and tempers were hot.
But now, I just see socks. It’s a joke with us finally after all these years. And when Peter decided to get rid of them, (well, most of them) this past move, a part of me was a little sad. Our game was coming to an end. It had become a staple of our relationship in a way.
“See that box of socks there. Let me tell you about those socks. One day, Peter will find the most amazing use for them and then I will have to tell him he was right all along.”
The little things really add up
When our hearts are not set on the thankful dial, little expressions of love go unnoticed and fall by the wayside. An unloaded dishwasher, a sweet text in the middle of the day, or a shared sunset as you drive home from grocery shopping can be lost when we are not looking out for them. Constantly being alert to our surroundings and noticing the good our husband or wife is doing can make or break our connections.
I want to be intentionally thankful in my life. I desire to see all the little things so they add up to one big, “You are so special to me. Thank you for being you.” It certainly doesn’t come naturally, but it can be achieved. We just need to have the desire to put aside whatever it is that we are holding onto and just look at what we have. Once we can do that, then I think we may be surprised how many more showers of blessing follow.