Over time, we can stack up our list of minor and major grievances against our spouse like cord wood. One stick at a time . . . a few months or years down the road and we have a huge pile of reasons to be less than content.
No doubt, some/much/all of it is true – you’re not trading in fantasy, here. This stuff happened (happens). Whatever the case, like looking through binoculars, the more you keep looking at that pile the clearer it comes into focus, obscuring everything else.
And that gaze leads somewhere. It leads to being discontent.
I’m not going to encourage you to pretend none of it is real, or argue that it isn’t very important, or shouldn’t be addressed.
But, I have a question . . . are you a grateful person?
Are you grateful for your spouse? Is there anything (several things) you could focus on that you are (should be) truly thankful for?
I’m reminded of a conversation my missionary/bush pilot father had with an ungrateful husband some thirty-five years ago . . .
Young Husband: My wife just doesn’t have anything to offer me.
Dad (pointing to the young man’s three young sons): Well, I can think of something she’s offered to you at least three times!
Still makes me laugh!
But, really, there’s nothing to be thankful for?
We tend to think our circumstances are more challenging than the next person. Not so. Everyone has challenges. It’s called ‘Life’. Whereas challenges are universal, so are many, many reasons we have for being thankful.
Speaking of ‘Life’, did you keep your heart beating yesterday? Are you keeping it beating today? We can be grateful for life.
Did you miss a meal recently? Many in the world do but, though we’ve gone through lean times, I’ve never missed a meal, have you? We can be grateful for food.
Do you have a roof over your head?
Does your spouse do anything . . . anything for you, your children, your home, etc.?
We often allow our problems and especially our grievances, large or small, against our spouse to obscure the thousands of things that there are to truly be thankful for.
Thankfulness is powerful
Thankfulness is powerful because it takes the focus off of me and places it on God and on what is best in others.
Thankfulness is powerful because God is The Father who knows how to give good gifts (Matthew 7:11). When was the last time you desired to do anything for your complaining, ungrateful child? Never, right? Why would we expect God our Father to do anything for us when we’ve expressed nothing to Him but complaint, discontent, and self-focus?
Thankfulness is powerful because it is a step of obedience. Christians are expressly instructed to give thanks – express gratefulness – in every situation. Now, that’s difficult to do when our eyes are on ourselves. But, when we are focused on the purposes of God in our lives, and the eyes of our hearts are on Him, suddenly giving thanks in the midst of circumstances we do not like has meaning far beyond how we feel. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” That you and I express gratefulness – even during the bad stuff – is God’s will.
Thankfulness is powerful because it comes with a promise. When we are discontent, we lack peace in our lives. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Peace . . . contentment. That’s an awesome promise!
Our spouses aren’t perfect (a major understatement, in many cases!) but, last time I checked, neither is that guy I saw in the mirror this morning. Contentment will never be found if we focus on the shortcomings of our spouse rather than on the many things about him/her that we can be genuinely grateful for, not to mention the many mercies and blessings we receive from God on a daily basis.
Contentment always eludes those who do not count themselves blessed for what they already have.
Do you have anything to be grateful for today? Let God know. And then, let your spouse know something about him/her you are grateful for.
Gratefulness changes everything, starting with being content.
Transform your perspective and you’ll transform your day.
P.S. If you are looking for ways to deepen your love for each other and express that love in meaningful, creative ways, check out my book 100 Ways To Love Your Wife (Your Wife will be glad you did!) and Lisa’s book, 100 Ways To Love Your Husband (Your Husband will be thrilled!)
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