f you’ve read my previous blog, you know I tend to analyze things to death, often focusing solely on the flaws. After writing that blog, I saw another important lesson that I missed the first time. Not only do I often see the worst in myself, but I tend to see the worst in my wife far more often than I would like to admit.
The same is true in many marriages–the little things grate on you after a while, then you have a choice to make–will you focus on the negative or the positive?
I have an AMAZING wife. She’s on fire for Jesus. She’s beautiful, smart, funny, loving, compassionate, caring, and she sings like an angel. She’s the giver I wish I could be. How God fits so much love in such a small package is something I’ll never understand. But, praise God, He did, and that amazing combination of awesome loves me more than I can understand or ever deserve. She takes care of me so well in so many areas that it blows my mind when I pause to think about it. She’s everything I ever wanted and so much more than anything I could have hoped for.
So why is it that the silly little things bother me so much? With everything I just said, I feel like I have no right to be annoyed, let alone upset. But it happens anyways. Why? Perspective. What we spend the most time thinking about is what ends up being the dominant emotion in our minds. If we focus and dwell on the little flaws, they grow to be so much bigger in our minds than they actually are, and the good things shrink so much smaller than they ever should be.
So what to do?
Simple. Focus on the good whenever and wherever you can. Make an effort to notice the good things.
If she leaves the toothpaste on the counter one night, is it a grievous offense? Hardly. She just cooked an AMAZING dinner, called a friend who was having a bad day to make sure they felt loved, AND folded our laundry. And even if she had done none of those things, she’s still that amazing combination of awesome.
And it’s still just a tube of toothpaste.
But, let’s be honest, we rarely have such candid conversations with ourselves. What comes up is, “Ugh. The toothpaste tube is on the counter. I asked her not to leave it out one time like a year ago. How dare she forget?” Yep. Again, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s all too close to my train of thought. It’s massively selfish and cynical, and she doesn’t deserve any part of it.
So I need to remember that it’s my issue, not hers.
Now, I’m not saying we should never say something to our spouse about something that happens a lot that grates on us, but I am saying that we should keep a healthy perspective and realize that the world will not end because the toothpaste didn’t make it into its medicine-cabinet home one night. Nor does that single offense even cast a shadow on what an amazing woman I’m married to.
What if, instead of focusing on the things that annoy us, we chose to silently put the toothpaste tube away and focus on the things our spouse DOES do that are amazing? What if we focused on their wonderful qualities? It’s this perspective that breeds a mentality of thankfulness–thankfulness for who our spouse is and thankfulness that we get to spend our lives with them.
What about you? Are there little things that grate on you? If you take a step back and look at the big picture, should they? Take some time today to think about it. If you’re like me and can be too critical, take the initiative and apologize to your spouse. Then, one day at a time, try to see the good things for what they are and keep the annoying things in perspective.
Let’s face it. Some days in marriage are difficult and the annoyances can slowly creep in to be of primary importance. However, part of being in a good marriage is having an attitude of thankfulness and focusing on the amazing qualities in our spouse that God has given to us rather than on the small annoyances. To learn more about keeping a mindset of thankfulness, check out our 12-month course coming soon!
How can you take the initiative today to choose thankfulness over annoyance? What single step can you take? Share with us in the comments–we’d love to hear from you!