“Get a new heart and a new spirit.” Ezekiel 18:31
Maybe you heard the story about the day Lisa finally had enough. Her husband, Greg, loved to shoot. An expert marksman, he traveled widely to compete against other enthusiasts, and occasionally he brought home a trophy. But Lisa had no interest in marksmanship. In fact, she didn’t like guns—period. To make matters worse, she missed her husband terribly while he was away pursuing his hobby.
One day it dawned on her that their relationship was in trouble. That was the day Lisa finally had enough. Lisa asked Greg to teach her how to shoot a rifle, then joined him in his travels. Soon she decided to compete at the shooting events. To Lisa’s surprise, she liked firing a rifle. And to her husband’s surprise, Lisa was a very good shot. She even started bringing home more trophies than he did. But of the prizes they brought home, one stood out above all the rest: Their marriage seemed reborn. The time they spent together at their newfound common interest helped them develop a closeness that simply hadn’t existed before.
Lisa’s story is a good reminder that what seems like an obstacle might really be an opportunity. Creative, committed couples discover this secret everyday. Just ask a husband who’s learned to love ballroom dancing or a wife who’s gotten hooked on fly fishing. That’s because the best times always seem to come in pairs.
Just between us…
- When was the last time we tried a new activity together?
- Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?
- Are there activities keeping us apart that we could do together?
Dear God, we ask for fresh determination to explore new interests and activities together. Where our marriage would be strengthened by playing together, help us let go of the old habits and assumptions that keep us apart. Amen.
- From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Joy Hunters
By Leigh Jackson Harper
I was so tempted to groan and roll my eyes when my watermelon rind hit the trash can with a thud.
Yes, my husband had taken out the trash (thanks, Honey!). But once again, he’d forgotten to put the new bag inside the can (sigh). Across the kitchen, he was scrolling on his phone.
I took a beat, exhaled, realized he had just finished a 12-hour shift. The fact that he’d taken out the trash at all was helpful. I was glad he had a few minutes to unwind.
By default, I lean toward discontentment. Add social media (hello, highlight rolls and envy), stress, and sin into the mix, and any of us plummet downhill even faster.
How can we find joy and be content with our spouse and the marriage God has given us?
We’ve all heard the saying, What you water will grow.
We water marriage’s joy when choosing the 30,000-foot view, focusing on all of the loving and helpful things our spouse does to serve our family.
Practically, this looks like choosing to celebrate his or her commitment to excellence in their job. Acknowledging God’s provision through that job instead of becoming frustrated when an occasional meeting doesn’t wrap up on time, disrupting evening plans at home.
It looks like appreciating your spouse’s partnership in household chores (I’m looking at you, inefficiently loaded dishwasher).
It looks like remembering how full his or her plate is, offering gentle forgiveness when that bill isn’t paid on time.
Choosing to be thankful instead of critical is step one. But you’ll find even more joy in your marriage when you vocalize that appreciation.
When your spouse steps in the door after that late meeting, remind her with a hug how thankful you are for her dedication to her career.
When one of you accidentally shrinks a shirt in the dryer that should have been air-dried, communicate your appreciation for doing a load of laundry anyway.
Joy is there. Your perspective can uncover it!
The Good Stuff: Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Practice the pause. The next time your spouse does something that stirs irritation, take a moment to consider the 99 things they’ve done well before this one thing irked you.
- Speak life. Aim to tell your spouse at least one thing each day that you appreciate about him or her.
- Pray. Ask God to give you eyes that see all of the sacrificial ways your spouse is choosing to love and serve.