The story is told of a couple that grew to find little to appreciate in one another. The daily tally of things one did that annoyed and aggravated the other was a growing list. More and more they did less and less together. In desperation the woman visited a counselor and took along her journal of all the attitudes and actions she resented. The counselor gave her one assignment: start a new journal and write down only the things her husband did right … and she must write daily in her new journal.
At first it seemed impossible, yet as the days passed the task seemed to get easier. One month later she reported to the counselor that something remarkable was happening to her husband — he was changing. Without him even knowing about her book, he started coming home earlier than usual and seemed to be more relaxed to be there. He was noticing the change in her and without even knowing what was causing it, he was responding.
Media thanks to Freebridge Media.
Choose your focus
That wonderful quote on love from 1 Corinthians 13, so often heard at weddings, holds the treasured nugget that love keeps no record of wrongs.
Every couple will find irritations in one another, for we are imperfect people. Yet how we decide, ahead of time, to respond to those irritations will make a world of difference in our relationship.
We can resent the irritations and eventually the person; we can count them and point them out and nag about them. Or we can choose to polish up the good things we see and hear and put our focus there. We can pray about the irritations, and for growth in patience and gentleness in both our partner and in ourselves. When an issue truly needs to be addressed, we can do it carefully and prayerfully without a spontaneous outburst.
Attitude is everything
Thankfulness is heart-changing. The way you perceive a situation is the way you will respond to it. Perception, whether or not it is factual, becomes truth to the individual. Choose early to have a love that keeps no record of wrongs, but rather finds the good and stores up a “record of rights” in your heart toward one another.
A wise friend of mine decided to begin a “record of rights” for her fiancée because she found the written word powerful and sometimes easier to express. She started the book without telling him about it and one day, when he was packing for a trip, she slipped it into his suitcase. He found it when he settled into his hotel room and read the whole thing. They both love this record of rights because it now serves to help them remember those first words and first feelings of her love and thankfulness for him and it helps them choose where to focus.
God’s wisdom, to keep no record of wrongs, is a powerful reminder to choose where you focus in the daily rubbing of shoulders and the nitty-gritty of life.
He also promises to grant you the patience, gentleness, kindness, and thankfulness that you need day to day. Simply ask him, every day, to enable you look with eyes so that you see the good in the other and respond with love. When something needs to be addressed, ask God to help you in choosing the timing and attitude in which you approach it.
If you’re overwhelmed by the bitterness you feel in your marriage, it can help to talk about it. One of our confidential mentors is here to listen without judgment, pray for you, and support you in the journey. Just fill out the form below!