It’s happened. Again.
You have that one friend who always has something negative to say about her husband. He’s not sensitive enough. He doesn’t understand how she feels. He can’t do anything right. And on those days when she’s really mad, he is a miserable failure.
As you cringe at her assessment of him and her blanket generalizations that ALL men are like this to a certain degree, you wonder if you should say something.
But before you can open your big mouth, you do a quick check of yourself. Do you do what she’s doing? Or do you consider yourself way better because you don’t go and gripe about your man to everyone else… even if you find yourself griping about him in your own head?
I’m no better. I know. You’re shocked, right? Because I think nothing but hearts and kisses upon every remembrance of Wes, right?
Anyway, because I’m a miserable failure of a wife most of the time, I’ve made myself a little list of reminders to go through every time I’m tempted to say something or even dwell on thinking something negative about my dear sweet husband…
1. Keep it to yourself. No one is going to be helped by your complaining. You can cloak it as a “prayer request” or just as “letting off steam” with your close, personal friends, but you KNOW what it really is. It’s complaining. Griping. It does nothing to build up those who are listening to you. And worse yet, it puts you in a position to get bad counsel, to be encouraged in your anger, and to dishonor your husband by speaking ill of him. Just keep it to yourself.
2. Believe the best about him. So, he doesn’t always get it right. He says dumb things. He doesn’t respond the way you want him to. He hurts your feelings. He’s human. He’ll do that. But beneath it all, what was his intention? Was it honestly to hurt you? Is his life’s ambition to upset you, anger you, and create tension? Likely not. So take what he says and what he does believing the best about him — that underneath it all, he’s not some awful, horrible person.
3. For every wrong thing he does, remember something good that he does. Wes can’t put socks in a dirty clothes hamper, y’all. He CANNOT do it. (And his faulty genes have passed this inability down to the girls. It’s dirty, sweaty sock city on our living room floor every night. Glory!) It’s really hard to stay irritated about that when I remind myself that every pair of socks on the floor is representative of a day when he’s gotten up out of bed early and gone on to a full day of hard work, coming home late without much praise or thanks from anyone. It’s nearly impossible to be resentful of anything when I remember that he so faithfully and consistently provides for everything we need. If your man keeps a job and works hard to provide for his family, there are already innumerable good things that he’s doing for you. Don’t overlook this!
4. Maybe your expectations are unrealistic. Your man can never be Jesus. He may want to be everything to you, but he can’t be. He shouldn’t be. When he can’t read your mind, is unable to anticipate every need you have, and fails to really understand you in a way you so desperately need someone to understand you… take it to Jesus. Let’s have realistic expectations of our men, yes, but let’s remember that they’re not our ultimate hope and security in this life or the next. (Which is a good thing!)
5. You picked him, girl. Oh, I did. I picked him with his quirks and the irritating things he does. And I was in luuuuurrrrvvvve with everything about him when I did it. Our premarital counselor told me I had some rose-colored glasses, and I murmured, “Yes, yes, I do,” even as I gazed over at my beloved. (Which was probably nauseating to everyone else, come to think of it.) When I’m tempted to gripe about Wes, would you believe that remembering those days, when I was besotted by every little thing he did, helps? Everything I loved about him is still there, except so much better and so much richer, grown and matured over time. I’m convinced that I love that man infinitely more now than I did, and knowing that love is only going to grow more as we go through life and all of its different seasons together keeps me remembering (and congratulating myself) that I PICKED HIM!
6. Take a good, long look at yourself. Ouch. I know I’m ten kinds of crazy and about as fun as a root canal some days. And once I’m honest about that, I’m so thankful for the grace Wes extends to me, even when I’m decidedly unlovely. (And he’s so wonderful that he would swear there’s never a day that I’m not sunshine and rainbows. Which we all know isn’t true.) When we look at who we are, I think we’re more willing to extend the same grace to our men and forgive a whole lot more, right?
7. Consider the alternative. I spent my single years well. I had great experiences that I would never have been able to have with a husband and children. I enjoyed those years and count them as God’s gift to me. But I like life with Wes a whole lot more than I liked being single. The alternative to the work of marriage is life without Wes, and life without Wes would SUCK. Everything I gripe about is something my single self would have gladly embraced. I remember Namibia Jenn every time Wes annoys me, and I can almost hear her telling me to suck it up because she would’ve given anything to be where I am today. I don’t want to take the blessing of marriage for granted. Ever.
So, friends, do you have anything you’d add to this list?