There was a grumpy man who had a habit of constantly complaining about his wife. Nothing she did pleased him. He found little to value in who she was and what she did for him.
“At first I had an ideal for a mate,” he exclaimed. “Then I had an ordeal. Now I want a new deal,” he ended bitterly.
When was the last time you complained about your mate? When was the last time you considered trading your mate in for a newer model? If you’re like most, you’ve complained about your mate recently and fantasized about having a new partner. If you didn’t complain out loud, you may have complained under your breath.
To be fair, we’ve all been like the grumpy man wanting a new deal. We all know love and marriage are rarely easy. Even as a hopeless romantic, deeply in love with my wife Christie, I must still say love and marriage are not always easy. While romanticism is an integral part of life, realism is important too and realism indicates love can be challenging.
But love is not only a noun—something I wish for everyone—but also a verb. Love is something we do. Love is something we work at, strive for, cultivate in our lives. Marriage is the best place to do that work.
Lately I’ve thought more about complaining less about issues in my marriage and being thankful more for the opportunities those issues bring to me. My wife is, after all, the one person on the planet who knows me better than anyone and is in the unique position to help me grow. I’ve discovered that every issue in my marriage has something to teach me.
Now to be fair, I don’t always want to grow and learn. I still sometimes imagine having the perfect partner who loves me relentlessly, day in and day out, no matter how I behave. This magical, mythical person would adore me and never complain about my immature foibles. But I’m smart enough to know that is an immature, childish notion. No one loves and approves of another perfectly, no matter how they behave. Nor should they.
Instead of complaining about your mate and fantasizing for a new deal, consider loving your marriage for a change. What do I mean by this? I mean consider adopting the point of view that your mate is the best person on the planet to help you mature. Consider that you need their perspective and need to mature and if you don’t, you’re dangerous. Yes, an immature, self-centered, inconsiderate person is dangerous. An immature person does not reflect on their actions, refuses to take responsibility for their failures and does not seek growth. That person is dangerous.
If you are married, be thankful. Be thankful that your mate is there to help refine your character and without them, without their reflection and feedback, you have little opportunity to mature into the person God wants you to be. Maturity has much to do with knowing yourself and knowing yourself has to do with understanding who you are and what you are like to be around.
Every issue that arises in your marriage, every argument, every pet peeve and marital struggle can teach you something. Stop blaming your mate and look in the mirror. Stop rejecting your mate’s critical feedback and thank them for caring about you and helping you grow. You cannot discover your character weaknesses on your own—you need your mate. Join me in loving your marriage for a change. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.