5 Ways to Stay Positive About Your Marriage

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?

Stay Positive

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?

 

 

 

Learning to Stop, and Love

The other morning as I was driving to work, I was talking to my sweet husband. He had decided to give his day off-after a long hard week- to paint furniture for our new apartment.

I’m so incredibly blessed by him, it was supposed to hit the 90’s, and furniture painting isn’t the most fun of activities… I had helped him back on Memorial Day and 6 chairs and 3 coats later I was more than done with it!

So all of this to say, my husband is awesome, and yet I am so so far from it.

On the phone he asked me a question and I thought it was a silly one- I pointed it out and got on the weirdest little soapbox, as if I was performing for the debate team.

My case was solid from every direction, backed up with facts and snarky comments… until Tap broke in and tore my case apart with one line.

“Honey.. it was just a question, you don’t have to treat me like a moron.”

And Smack.

For a moment I was rolling around in my own glory and the feeling of being right, to find I was just rolling in the mud of pride and self-righteousness.

For a moment I was rolling around in my own glory and the feeling of being right, to find I was just rolling in the mud of pride and self-righteousness.

Such an ugly pride.

It hurt, because I had hurt him and he was right.

I need to learn how to stop.

People rarely need a reminder of their faults and shortcomings. We are all so aware already- burying ourselves in grief. We do not need to add a single thing to this pile of self-loathing in ANY way.

But rather we should lift this burden off others, especially our men. And begin to build them up.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-15

Stop rolling around in the feeling of “being right” to only come up filthy. Let us stop our silly debate teams, soap boxes, and self-righteous monologues, and start being cheerleaders, builders, teammates, and dreamers.

 

Thank you honey, for painting the rest of the furniture. For being my team mate in making a house a home. You are strong, talented, and becoming quite the handy man!

Love,

Emilie

Build Each Other Up

Kids tend to make people the punchlines of their jokes.

They often grow-up, but don’t grow out of it. The jokes may take different set-ups, forms, or turns… but people still end up battered on the other end. Their bruises covered by laughter.

In highschool, I was blessed with a positive influence. My youth pastor, Brian, made it our mantra that we would not tear each other down, but that our job was to build each other up.

Whenever we said something negative about someone else, we had to apologize and list three things we liked about that person- and the mantra would be spoken again “Build Each other up.”

Ryan McGuire at StockSnap.io

Life is hard, why make it harder for each other? We have the power to tear down and the power to build up. Why not stand together to make the burden lighter?

How are you using your voice?

As I get older the challenge has changed.

Instead of redeeming negative comments with positive ones, I should be keeping my mouth shut before I say anything negative in the first place.

Bob Goff shared that every time he says something critical to another person he logs into his bank account and gives away $500.  He said this helps him stop and think, “Do I really want to say this, or would I rather take my sweet Maria on a trip?

Most of the time he picks a trip with his wife, keeps his mouth shut, and instead focuses on speaking words of “life and encouragement.”

This is the next step… Speak life and encouragement into others without prompting.

I want to live my life as an encourager… a builder.

This is especially important in my marriage. As a wife, my sole job is to be a helper and encourager to my husband.

As a wife, I get to see the worst side of my husband, but I am called to be his greatest cheerleader despite it. This is oxymoronic, but that paradox gives it even greater power.

Knowing his faults, yet respecting, loving, encouraging, and believing in him anyways is what makes it mean more.

As I try to master being an encouragement to my husband, I need to let that habit flow into all of my relationships.

What would it be like if we used our words to build instead of tear down?

Build up our family, friends, leaders, servers, or the next generation.

I think we will find that a kind word goes much farther than a critical one.

 

Is it easier for you to speak negatively or positively about others? Is there someone you are specifically speaking life into during this season of your life? Who do you know that could use some life-giving words right now?

 

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

-Philippians 4:8

 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

-1 Thessalonians 5:11

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

-Proverbs 14:1