I'm so blessed to be married to John. This man truly knows me - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and still loves me. He focuses on my strengths. I really think that if someone asked him in confidence what really bugs you about your wife, that he'd not be able to think of a thing. In fact, I know that if he read my opening here about the good, bad, and ugly he's appreciate the Clint allusion (for some goofy reason John adores old Clint Eastwood movies), but ask me what in the world I'm talking about.
Trust me on this one - he could have a very long list of complaints. Because as much as I try, I sometimes mess up. I have defects of character. I'm sure grateful that God loves me, forgives me, and empowers me to change. I'm grateful that I'm a better person today than I was three years ago. But I'm still in process.
All of us are in process.
One of the things John frequently says that has kind of become our marriage motto is that we've got to give each other a lot of mercy, grace, and forgiveness just like Jesus gives us. I've found that having this mentality, knowing that I annoy myself sometimes so of course my beloved husband is sometimes gonna annoy me, and when he does I need to just let it go and choose to focus on all the good things about him - this attitude changes our day to day existence. Gone is all the drama and upset about what the other person did wrong. Gone is the need to convince the other person how right I am. In it's place is love, forgiveness, and the choice to say words of gratitude and praise. I've learned that I really can make that choice.
Because of the world we live in I want to clarify that I'm not talking about stuff like addictions such as gambling that leave the family without money for food, or physical abuse, or repeated cheating. These kind of things can not be over looked while one chooses to focus on the positive. These things must be dealt with and typically require assistance (counseling by a pastor or therapist, 12-step groups, etc.). What I'm talking about here is the fact that none of us are perfect, and sometimes we do the wrong thing, so, since we're in this business of life together with our spouse - why not just engage in a lifestyle of overlooking offenses, forgiving, and loving?
We're all different, but for me, I do not talk with my friends if I'm upset with my husband. Anyone who has ever been in a small group setting with me for long almost inevitably thinks John is absolutely wonderful (of course that's because he is), since it's only the good things about him that I share with others. If I've got a problem with John, the only one I talk about it with is God. If I were to ever encounter a problem that I needed outside help, then I'd get it; but I'm not going to go around complaining, venting, or just being negative about my husband.
I recognize that sometimes, even with two well meaning people, we do need to talk about things that the other person did that upset us. But I've found that I don't need to have these talks as often as I used to think that I did.
It's only after I talked with God and get what I feel is the go ahead, that I will ever bring a problem between "us", or that I perceive to be with John, to my husband John. Lots of times I do not get the go ahead from God; lots of times I get the sense that John has issues, just like me, that he's working on and what he needs most from me is forgiveness, support, praise and love. What he doesn't always need is some big long discussion. I can tell you account after account where I've brought something to God, I have not sensed a release to talk with John about it, I've continued to pray about it, and God has worked in John and brought about changes or God has worked in my heart to see the situation differently, or change how I feel about the thing.
I've heard that Abraham Lincoln once said that a person is about as happy as he chooses to be. I think that's true. I think that thought applies so well to marriage, we're as happy with our spouse as we choose to be. It's up to me if I want to focus on what may annoy me, or I may think is missing, or on my husband's imperfections, or I can focus on his strengths and how God has blessed me with him. Having done so many things wrong in the past, I'm grateful that today I can live choosing to enjoy the good things.
What about you, what do you choose?