It was one of those gray rainy days preceded by another sleepless night with kids that were up –again. I curled up on my couch with my early morning cup of tea while I read my Bible, prayed, and tried to get myself in a good mood before the household exploded with ten little feet.
As my brain cells began to stir I started to think about my misery and my husband. In my exhausted, early morning mental fog these thoughts tumbled out-
I wonder if he ever thinks about how I feel- how hard life is for me with all these kids.
And that thing I asked him to fix last week, it’s still broken.
And just once, I wish he’d offer to do the bedtime and homework routine without my asking.
And that suggestion I gave him about something that might help him at the office-he didn’t think it was very good.
I wonder if he appreciates my carpooling the kids all over every day and feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing…and, and…
As I sat in my pity-party, a question entered my mind. “Susan, what if he had said:
“Honey you work so hard; I appreciate how difficult it must be especially because it feels so so mundane to you.
What if he had fixed that broken thing right away.
What if he had come home one night and said,” I’m taking over dinner and homework; you take a break.”
What if he had said, “By the way that suggestion you gave me for work; I took you advice and it was good.”
What I quickly realized was that I would have simply thought of something else that did not please me.
I had fallen into a “picky trap.” Pick, pick, and pick at the things my husband does or doesn’t do. Rehearse them in my mind. Add to the list.
I also realized that I had become an “encore wife,” a person for whom nothing is ever enough.
No matter what he did I would think of something else I wanted. There was no way he could satisfy me.
Picky wives who also want an encore are not very much fun to live with.
And I wanted to be fun.
The Daily Marriage Vitamin
“Please Lord, change my heart. Make me grateful instead of critical. Remind me of things to appreciate in my husband.”
I began to say out loud the things I was grateful for in my man. He gets up early to pray for the kids and me. He is a man of integrity. He is even tempered. He is reliable. He has self- discipline; doing things he doesn’t necessarily like to do.
That morning I discovered what I call the “marriage vitamin.“
Every day I try to thank God for one specific thing I appreciate about my husband. Occasionally, I even tell him.
No he’s not perfect, but neither is his wife.
And yes we still let each other down, ask forgiveness, and start over again.
The thing about marriage is it’s a lifetime of growing together, of iron sharpening iron.
We never will get it just right this side of heaven. Our God is more concerned about what we learn in the process than He is about us getting it all figured out.
Even with 45 years of marriage I still get lazy and fall into the picky trap. I still need that daily marriage vitamin.
Today I find myself praying more and more that I’d lighten up and not make a big deal out of something small. And I continue to pray that we’d laugh more together at the dumb things we do.
Today, after all these years we appreciate more and more that we simply have each other. God is good and He is using us to sharpen one another. (Proverbs 27:17)
*What’s your daily Marriage Vitamin for today? Share one thing you appreciate about your husband!
I’m mom to five children (including a set of twins) and grandmother to 21 (including a set of quadruplets!). My husband, John and I have been married almost 45 years. I’ve written 13 books and speak on the subjects of marriage, parenting, and women’s issues. Some of my books include And Then I Had Kids; And Then I Had Teenagers; Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest (with friend Barbara Rainey) and Character Matters!: Raising Kids with Values That Last (With John).
I write regularly for the blog: MomLifeToday.com, sponsored by Family Life. I’m a Tarheel. I love Monday night football, ACC basketball, shooting hoops with my grandsons, hiking and riding horseback with my husband, running and talking with girl friends. My favorite time of the year is June when all my kids and grandkids are together for a week of “cousins and family camp” in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.
Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest: Discovering New Purpose, Passion & Your Next Great Adventure
You’re done . . . but you’re not finished! And one more thing. You’re not alone. Feeling unsure? Scared? Expectant? Maybe even giddy? Is your nest empty–except for a bundle of mixed emotions? As you grieve what’s behind and daydream about possibilities, you’ll feel young again, ready for new challenges and adventures. Yet you may not know what to pursue or how to discover what’s next. Many women in this season of life wonder: Who am I now? And what should I do? How will my marriage be affected? Does anyone need me? How do I relate to my children? Is it okay to feel sad? Or thrilled? What’s next?
Barbara and Susan can be the friends you need to walk you through these new experiences. They’ll guide you to answers, and together you’ll discover a new purpose and passion for your next life adventure.