I used to think that a peaceful marriage was The Absence of Conflict.
Funny one, Rachel.
Actually, if you and your spouse never disagree, then one of you is superfluous. I won't say who.
OK, let's be serious now.
I like to think of peacefulness in your marriage as something that takes cultivation. It takes some work... some plowing, some watering, some fertilizing, some sun and rain. It takes planting good seeds that yield a good crop.
It stands to reason that whatever you are planting, you'll be reaping, right?
Now, I know that marriage is a two-way street, and there are probably a BUNCH of things your man really needs to start doing differently for your marriage to feel peaceful. But since he's not reading this, and probably you are, I'm just going to focus on "our" half of the equation. The part we have control over.
Here are some good seeds that you could plant today.
- Pleasant words. Are you complain-y? Gripey? Negative? Sarcastic? Wonder why he doesn't enjoy conversation? Really, ALL of us should listen to ourselves sometime. We might be surprised at how negative we sound. Make a point to be positive and affirming.
- A respectful attitude. Do you criticize the way he diapers the baby? Chews his food? Doesn't assert himself at work? Respect for your man means that you can let him do things his way without having to nit-pick. It means you can disagree without belittling, nagging, or criticizing. Be an encourager, not a criticizer.
- A listening ear. My husband loves all things science-y, and he loves to talk to me about it. Now, I like science and all, but I also like Pinterest and stuff. But mostly, I like that he talks to me...so I've learned to really enjoy the things HE enjoys. And guess what...he listens when I talk about Pinterest. So...listening is a good seed.
- Saying yes. Yup. To that. Look, fourteen minutes in the bedroom can go a long, long way toward a peaceful, easy feeling. Get over it. Go have fun.
- Ask. Sometimes we don't want to know the answer to: "What's bothering you?" or "What can I do to help you today?" or "How do you feel about that?" But asking open-ended questions validates the other person. Now, the tricky part: don't get defensive when you hear the answer.
- Be Nice. We often treat our co-workers and friends better than we treat the person we are married to. But I'm convinced that simply BEING NICE is incredibly powerful! Who can resist someone who is just NICE to them? Even when (maybe especially when) it's undeserved. Resist the temptation to keep score...and commit to small kindnesses every single day.
You know, none of these seeds involve deep counseling or expensive therapy. They are all FREE. And they work wonders, even in the worst of situations.
Maybe your marriage is feeling pretty rotten today. I don't, in any way, want to make light of a marriage that is hurting, or suggest that your problems will disappear in six magical steps.
But I do want to encourage you to do what you can - today - to work on the things that YOU can work on. I believe that God is big enough to somehow, some way help him to work on the things HE needs to work on. You need to get healthy and strong, and BE the kind of woman you know you can be.
Sometimes simply changing your focus can be just the ignition to start something good in motion.
Plant seeds today. Cultivate good things. Be willing to do some work and tend your garden...in due season you will reap.
I'm praying for your marriage today. Feel free to email me or leave a comment - no details are necessary - so I'll know your name when I pray.
Which seeds will YOU plant??