Have you ever found yourself in bitterness and resentment toward your spouse?
Maybe you see a friend post about how their husband surprised her by doing the dishes before she got home and you wish your husband would do that. Your co-worker gushes about the romantic evening her husband planned for her birthday and you remember how your husband forgot your birthday last year.
Maybe your wife doesn’t watch sports with you, and your co-worker took her husband to Wrigley Field this summer. You watch the way your friends flirt and hold hands during your double date, but you know your wife is uncomfortable with public displays of affection.
Do you find yourself comparing your marriage to the couples around you? or those on Instagram and Facebook?
Let me remind you… No human is exactly the same, therefore no marriage is exactly the same. Not to mention, no person or marriage is perfect!
What makes you just like all those couples you see, is that you all face hardships. You all have a level of brokenness, fault, & problems.
Comparing their instagram photos to your real-life-in-the-grind moments isn’t fair to anyone. Nor is it good for your soul.
So let’s turn this train around! How can we stop the negative feelings and start seeing that glass half full again? Here are 5 small tips:
1) Keep a Journal, but Burn the Pages
A Christian leader I respect and admire unwinds his mind and reflects on his day through a journal. Writing has always been a great way to process things, as well as reflect and reminisce through. However, he reflects back on the positive, but any page that is negative he rips out and burns. It is good to process your negative emotions, but it is never good to hold on to them. Take the time to do the hard work of processing, and the best work of letting go.
2) Keep a Record of Good
The Bible clearly states that Love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). But I do encourage you to keep a record of good.
A friend of mine keeps a list of all the reasons she fell in love and married her husband. She tucks it into the pages of her Bible and reminds herself daily of his strengths after her time with God. Make a list of your own and keep it as a book mark or reference when the time’s get rough.
3) Call it When You See It
Don’t let a good moment pass without recognizing it. It’s easy to take all the little things for granted, but you can develop an eye for noticing the simplest of gestures. Just like we choose to see the annoyances rather than dismiss them, we can choose to see the good and dismiss the bad.
We used to keep a chalkboard in our kitchen. Whenever we noticed something we would write it down on the board. It was a shout-out that their efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Sometimes we would get competitive and try to out do one another in love. What a great way to utilize that competitive nature!
4) Assume the Best
It’s easy to take offense quickly. We often react assuming our partner meant to hurt us with their words (aka He meant I was fat!). But it’s much more likely that they don’t mean to hurt us. They loved us enough to marry us afterall.
So take a deep breath, remind yourself they love you, and assume the best.
5) Pray Over the Rest
If we spent the same amount of time we do berating, arguing, complaining, nagging, resenting…. and instead praying for our spouse, the more effective our time would be spent. Prayer can do a funny thing though. Instead of fixing your spouse, it tends to fix you. Prayer can fix our heart by softening it towards our spouse, increasing our grace and our mercy towards each other.
What are your tips for turning away bitterness? Do you have a simple habit that helps you stay focused on the positive?