Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Actually… It’s NOT All About You.

on September 10, 2012

Who, me? MY attitude?

I’m joining Sheila, Darlene, Courtney, and Jennifer on Mondays in September to help us Revive our Marriages. Last week was “Pray for your husband.” Next week will be “Revive your friendship.”
But this week’s theme hits a little too close to home for comfort… it’s “Revive your attitude.”

When you live with someone year in and year out, they can really get on your nerves sometimes. Mr X has a tradition, following generations of men in his family apparently, of thinking that any horizontal surface is meant for storage. The top of the refrigerator? Perfect! His dresser? Even better. Bathroom cabinet? Good for every magazine in the subscription. You need one from 2005? Just dig down a bit. (I’m exaggerating, but not much.)

My philosophy, on the other hand, like the designer William Morris’s, is that nothing should be seen that is not beautiful or useful. (Now that’s my PHILOSOPHY, and it’s not necessarily my reality!) And his clutter used to DRIVE. ME. NUTS. But if I could get bent out of shape about his philosophy, then he might get out of sorts with me when I leave the clean laundry in the basket until I have no kitchen towels… or when I won’t go out to spray Roundup in August, so he has to weed-eat around all the trees and beds before he mows… or when I leave the cabinet doors and dishwasher open when I’m cooking.

Remember what Jesus said in the parable? Shouldn’t you forgive your fellow servant even as I have had mercy on you? (Matthew 18:33) Oh yeah. That.

Then there’s the reminder that “love covers a multitude of sins” in 1 Peter 4:8.

If you want to revive your marriage, start with the one thing you have complete control of: yourself. (Read here about examining yourself and figuring out your rules, his rules, and THE rules. You can compromise on yours and his.)

When I realize that I am not the perfect paragon of womanhood, it makes my husband’s clutter habit a lot easier to live with. When I remind myself why I love him- he is dependable, a hard worker, a loving father, affectionate with me, very handy with jobs in and around our home; he’s smart, a good money manager, a Christian, a church-goer and Bible-reader… then I realize that he’s got lots more in the positive column than the negative.

Then follow up with your actions: 1 Corinthians 13 is not called the “love chapter” for nothing!
Love is patient. When he procrastinates getting something done that you can’t do, remember the unfinished projects you have… and extend grace to him.

Love is kind. When you are irritated with him on the inside, DO something on the outside that is beyond what’s expected. Go a step further and be kind to him- fix his favorite dessert; wear his favorite nightgown; rub his feet. See what happens to his attitude and then to yours.

Love does not envy.  When he meets interesting people at work and you are home wiping bottoms and watching Barney, don’t resent him. (I’m speaking from experience here; you do need to talk to him about it and seek his help. But the problem there was MY situation, not his, and my resentful attitude hurt our relationship.)

Love does not boast and is not conceited. I have an “out front” gift of playing the piano, singing, and directing a choir; and it took a long time to get it in the right perspective. My musical gift can be enjoyed by lots of people, but it’s not really MY gift. I got it like I got blue eyes and dark hair. His lugging around sound equipment, videoing programs, and doing things behind the scenes are just as important. Don’t let your ego get in the way of appreciating what he does for you and your family!

Love does not act improperly. Ladies, please do not EVER speak disrespectfully of or to your husband. This could be a whole series by itself, but suffice it to say for now, that God knew what He was doing when he said, “Women, respect your husbands.”

Love does not insist on its own way. Mr X loves college football, and our local university recently formed a football program, so we have season tickets. This year I’m really making an effort to watch, ask questions, and be engaged in what’s going on. And it’s more fun that way!

Love is not touchy or resentful. Again, examine yourself. Try to avoid those situations which will make you “out of sorts” when you can. (I can’t do activities on Sunday afternoon. I have to have a nap. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is!) Recognize when you feel grouchy, and tell him up front, letting him know that it’s not his fault.

Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. Here’s a big one. I love the passage where Paul talks about forgetting about the past, pressing onward. Forgetting about past hurts can be very difficult for women. But, just like choosing to focus on his good qualities rather than his faults, refusing to dwell on old heartaches is what you must do. When those memories try to pop up, engage your pop-up blocker (find a Scripture that addresses it) and say “NO. That’s over, forgiven, and in the past.”

Love rejoices in truth. Some discussions can be painful. Confronting issues and hurt feelings is never easy, but once it’s done, it’s like you have lanced an abscess and the healing can begin. Deal with your problems in a loving way.

Love bears all things. Even messy desktops.

Love believes all things and hopes all things. If he is late getting home, assume the best. If you’re having a disagreement, don’t twist his words to mean things he didn’t mean to say. Assume he’s speaking from a loving heart.

Love endures all things. Aren’t you glad that God didn’t throw up his hands over us and say, “Forget her! She’s not worth it!” I’m in my marriage for the long haul. How about you?

And just a little marital humor from Ben Franklin: Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half-shut afterwards!

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17 responses to “Actually… It’s NOT All About You.

  1. I love this! I so often think it is indeed ALL about ME. :(
    I would love it if you would share this at Matrimonial Mondays
    http://aproverbs31wife.com/matrimonial-monday-link-up-and-giveaway/

  2. This was great…I think your point about not keeping a record of wrongs is so needed. When my husband and I got married almost 9 years ago, we started out with so many issues that really should have made us reconsider marriage in the first place. It was so, so hard to move past some of them. But I found that it really is a choice and a decision to not memories of past hurts and past events to pop into your mind. Once it’s done, there just isn’t any point in continuing to think about it and it really begins to color your present happy marital status until suddenly you’re mad at him again.

    Thanks for linking up today!

  3. I have found praying for my husband goes a long way…especially when I ask the Lord to help me to see him as He sees him. God loves us so much, we always look better in His eyes.

  4. Eyes wide open before & half shut after! I love that. Great advice. It’s very easy to pick apart what your spouse might do or not do. Such wonderful advice in this post! Thank you so much for linking up with us today!!! Excited to get to know you better.

  5. Excellent reminder, Em. So glad you linked this up with The Alabaster Jar. Life, as a Believer, is not about us, but about Jesus Christ and lifting Him high for all to see.

  6. Loved this one! These are all good reminders that I need to practice every single day! Wonderful advice whether you have been married 1 day or 50 years!!

  7. Very good post and a nice reminder for me, because my husband has a pile on his dresser too and lots of other places. I’ll just choose to ignore those right now and focus on how he spent all of Saturday sitting in a girly tent and helping me sell my Fringe Vanilla.
    ~FringeGirl

  8. Wow! This was fabulous! I LOVE the way you personalized the Love Chapter!! It really spoke to me!!! Thanks for visiting Yes They Are All Ours! Please come back and visit again! :)

  9. [...] Actually, It’s NOT All About You                3.  Three Little [...]

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