What we zoom in on
I had totally intended to clear the sink of dishes. But after washing the two big pans I got distracted. Later that evening, lying in bed, my wife turned to me and said, “About the dishes …”
Uh oh, I thought. My mind immediately began to race. Why had I gotten distracted? I needed to come up with an excuse—fast.
I had just begun to form a brilliant defense when she said, “Thank you for scrubbing the big ones. They’re heavy, and I really appreciated you taking care of them.”
My mouth opened, but no words came out.
In marriage, a spirit of thanksgiving can make a huge difference. What you focus on most is what you’ll notice most.
If you give thanks for your spouse’s efforts at provision, then you begin to notice efforts at provision that you once overlooked. If you give thanks for your spouse’s efforts at cleaning, you begin to notice examples that you never saw before.
Focusing on the negative can have the opposite effect. The more we complain, the more evidence we find to justify our complaints. This breeds disappointment and bitterness and often spills out in the form of crude jokes, curses, insults, and sarcasm.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to focus on the positive.
My wife and I have different ways of viewing time. To me, 15 minutes early is on time. To her, two or three minutes late is no big deal. I don’t need to mention the friction this causes, right?
One day, fuming because she wasn’t ready, I realized I should shift my focus. I began praying for my wife and thanking God for making her the perfect companion. As I did, I began to realize why she’s usually late. God gifted her with a deep care for the needs of others. While I was judging her, she was preparing a bag with snacks I’d appreciate later that afternoon.
On my own, I would have never realized this. But tapping into God’s mysterious power, I was able to appreciate her thoughtfulness.
For more on thankfulness, check out “Gratitude Is a Choice.”
THE GOOD STUFF: Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)
ACTION POINTS: Next time you find yourself wanting to complain about your spouse, try thanking God for your spouse instead. You may be surprised by what you notice next.
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