But Seriously, Who Does That?!

Men! Ugh!! Who can understand them?! I mean, who does that?!

Have you said (or thought) one or more of those phrases in the last 48 hours? Was it in reference to your husband? Go on, admit it. If it helps, I’m over here raising my hand. Now, think about the same husband. How many good comments have you said about him in the last 48 hours?

Often times I find myself sharing more of the annoying moments of marriage with people than the good moments. And, when I share them, I dwell more on them. And, that’s completely dumb because those moments make up a negligible amount of our time together. It also paints a much bleaker picture of marriage in general and encourages others to complain about their husbands. Because who doesn’t love a good husband-razzing session?

But, I’m calling crap on this now. Not to say there aren’t genuinely appropriate moments for lamenting or advice-seeking. That’s why God made girl friends. But, we are prone to misuse these moments, sliding right past the zone of appropriateness into gossip and complaining. Let’s do something about this, friends! Let’s challenge ourselves to praise (I said praise, NOT WORSHIP) our husbands. Let’s focus on the amazing things instead of the dirty socks on the floor. Cough, cough. I didn’t say this would necessarily be easy.

Here, I’ll go first:

599956_10100542609029078_567909000_nBecause of my faith, I believe that marriage is a picture of God and the church. That, in essence, it is to mirror that relationship. Recently, during a meeting with some wonderful women, we began discussing how God lavishes his love and gifts on us (feel free to read Ephesians 1 for more details). And, as we were discussing how he gives us his best gifts, how he almost obnoxiously lavishes us with them, I immediately thought, “This is what my husband does!!”

Every holiday, I know that I will get a present that is hand-picked for me, and it will be the best on the market. Because that’s what my husband gives to me. He spends an enormous amount of time making important financial decisions (almost annoyingly so, sometimes), but he picks out the best. He gives the best for me. I don’t even have to worry about there being something better or more perfect out there. He already gave it to me.

This is just one small snippet of how amazing he truly is. But let’s just embarrass him with one thing at a time.

How is your husband amazing? Feel free to be as cheesy as you’d like, just keep it G-rated, because I only have so much space in a trashcan to lose my lunch.

Helpful Self-Help

I don’t really like self-help books. Let me rearrange that sentence. I REALLY don’t like self-help books. Most of the time, they are filled with superficial fluff, and serve you only slightly better than watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (my guilty pleasure). And, when they aren’t as shallow as kiddie pool, they seem to tee you up to feel like an epic failure. Notwithstanding my feelings on self-help books, I finally found one that I feel obliged to share.

When we first got married, someone gave me a copy of The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. Of course, in my true self-help hating fashion, I put it away in Randal’s shed with the rest of the books that didn’t quite make the cut to fill precious bookshelf space (I own a lot of books). I stumbled upon this book when cleaning out part of the shed. And, in a moment when our marriage seemed to be filled with a little less than sunshine, butterflies, and puppies, I curiously opened it up.

This book is great for a few reasons. First, you only have to read 2-3 pages per day. Second, the 2-3 pages are actually filled with substance that makes you think a little deeper. Third, each day comes with a non-cheesy “dare” that makes you apply what you’ve read. The first three dares included refraining from saying anything negative to your spouse. That’s 72 hours of not complaining and not pointing out any flaws. And, since I am obviously 100% perfection all the time, he needs me to point out these flaws, right?! How else would he know what he needs to fix?

And, I have to admit, it was somehow a very hard and very easy 72 hours. It was hard because it made me consciously think about what was coming out of my mouth. And, let’s face it, even for relatively quiet females (like myself), it’s easy just to talk for the sake of talking. However, it was amazing how easily the void of small nit-picky comments were filled with actual, deep conversation. And jokes. I love to tell silly jokes.

One thing I noticed is that negative words don’t just pervade my marriage. Snide remarks often find my conversations as I dole out gossip in an attempt to “relate” to others. Or my frustration leads me to say things that I know cut down rather than build up.

So, I am challenging myself. For the next 72 hours, I will not say anything negative to or about anyone. Period. Instead, I will try to replace negative words with gracious ones (or silence, if I’m about to break). This may not seem like a very long time; however, if you are female, and are prone to conversing with others, you may quickly realize exactly how hard this could be. I mean, what do you actually talk about if you can’t gossip?