I’m sure we all have busy lives, marriage and family, jobs and dreams, the football, Netflix, can sometimes all get in the way of showing our appreciation and accepting who our spouses really are and are becoming. I know at times I have fallen short in really investing time in my marriage to appreciate my husband and accept who he is and who he is becoming, so it made me think about how I can appreciate and show him appreciation more.
God gave us our treasured spouses to cherish and appreciate, so how can we do that better. Here’s just a few pointers I’ve thought about along the way.
1. Stop Comparing and Start Praising
It should be simple, it should be obvious, but I think in this day and age with SNS in our faces constantly its so easy to compare. “Jennie’s husband bought her a huge diamond and I’m still holding onto this cheap thing.” “Paul’s wife always writes sweet posts about him, he must be living the dream, I’m lucky if I get an I love you text!” come on, admit it, we’ve all thought it at one time or another. I wish my husband could be like this, I wish my wife was more like that.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been through a time when I felt like everyone else’s husband, was more spiritual, more involved, more in tune with their wife, more in touch with their kids, more gifted, more romantic, sweeter…
If you know my husband you must be thinking how can I think that, I know terrible right?! But it was because I was looking at only aspects of peoples lives and adding them all together to create some idealistic human that doesn’t exist. And then going home and critiquing my husband for not being like that. I should have been going home and praising my husband for being spiritual, for being involved in our lives, for staying in tune with me and the kids, for his incredible gifting, for his quirky romaticness. Because that is the amazing guy he is! Sometimes you just need to look closely at your own spouse, rather than others.
Comparing what you see of people’s perfect lives on social media, or even comparing to the real people you know who are at different life stages and different arena’s than you, is detrimental to your marriage. Comparing with other’s is going to take you far away from realizing how amazing your spouse is and even further away from showing them appreciation and acceptance. God created each one of us uniquely and we are valuable to him (Matt10:29-31) if we can remember that we can cherish how uniquely crafted and made for us our spouse is.
2. Quit Blaming Them
Sometimes it feels like I’m never to blame and the other person always is. Which if I you only look at things from one perspective, ie. mine it would always seem to be true…
I’ll be the first to admit I struggle with this, many times we have fought because I am quick to blame and fail to look at where I could have improved. Sometimes I am blaming my husband for spending too much time on his phone, or for leaving his clothes lying around, or for being late because he didn’t get up on time. These are the small things, then there’s the big ones. Usually I am quick to judge, like the time when I thought he was playing on his phone, but he was actually finding us a good restaurant to eat at! eek… Rather than being quick to judge and blame, I need to be quick to encourage and love him. Quick to show appreciation, rather than quick to point the finger.
Sometimes you could spend all day steaming about something they did that morning that annoyed you, and be at the door ready to point the finger of blame right at them when they get home. But rather than being quick to blame, maybe we could be quick to show our appreciation of what they have done. Sometimes that means letting go of the things they haven’t.
After all, wouldn’t you be ready to do more for someone when they showed a little appreciation than if they continually blamed you for what you have done wrong?
3. Be United
Life, we disagree. Sometimes you agree to disagree, and sometimes you disagree to disagree, just because you are in that mood of fighting. Believe me sometimes I can’t even remember what I’m fighting about.
I don’t like change and so when my ‘ideas man’ of a husband, frequently comes to me with his big ideas, I can be so quick to shoot him down and reel a list of negatives of where it could go wrong. I want to be the woman who encourages him and gets excited about it, I want to be…. But sometimes I fall short and end up disagreeing and fighting.
I need to remember at these times we were married to be one. Right from the beginning God designed marriage for us to be as one, Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh”. We are no longer two separate beings competing with each other. This is one of the key points of marriage, that we be united with each other, encouraging each other, building each other up, putting ourself aside to help others get ahead. Not to be divided.
Being united on decisions and agreeing, rather than always being against each other or trying to pick away at each others ideas, will make your marriage stronger and benefit your family in many ways. When we talk I want the goal to be that we unite on a decision, rather than being obsessed with making my point clear. Sometimes it takes a moment to just accept their opinion and thoughts, before rushing to defend our own.
4. Be Humble
God wants us to be humble in our relationships and humble in our marriage. It’s easy to show romantic love to our spouses when we are in the mood and think that fulfills them. But a marriage is much more than that, it’s also about showing the love God gives us to each other.
I love this bible verse that says,
“Agree with each other, love each other, be deep- spirited friends, don’t push your way to the front, don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. ” Philippians 2:3-4
This kind of love is humbling, this kind of love looks like Jesus. It’s not pushing forward my right as a husband or wife, my expectations, how I should be treated, what I believe marriage should be like. It’s pushing the other person forward towards love.
For me it’s easy to put myself aside to put my kids first. As a mum it’s our natural instinct. I spend all day being patient for them, teaching them, guiding them, showing them love and kindness. But as soon as my husband steps through the door, I loose all grace. I have to question myself, when it comes to my husband, can I put myself aside to help him become his best? to encourage him to be the best man, husband, dad, leader, boss, that he can be? I have to say its quite challenging, but if it’s easy to do that for our kids, it should be just as easy to do that in out marriage.
With humility, comes compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience. They don’t just turn up on your doorstep one day, it’s what we need to clothe ourselves in everyday, they are area’s we need to grow in and areas we need to be actively pursuing in our marriage, not just our family life.
I guess very few of us automatically show a load of appreciation and acceptance to our spouses everyday. But we can! Which area’s do you struggle in? Let’s overcome and show a little more appreciation to our spouses today!