It’s late and we’re both exhausted. We come downstairs after tucking the kids into bed and share a tired sigh. Then a rustling and a cry from upstairs- “Mom! Dad!” We look at each other. “Wanna do Rock Paper Scissors?” my husband says. Sound like your life some days?
There’s no question that marriage and family life in all stages demand daily sacrifice. In the busyness and constant giving it’s easy to fall prey to things that destroy a marriage. And I’m not just talking about affairs and fights about money. Here are 4 common attitudes that lead to lousy marriages.
“I wish you were like…”
I once heard a friend say, “everyone’s a hot mess in some way! If they’re not a hot mess in one way, they’re a hot mess in another.” She’s right! I only catch curated glimpses of other people’s lives on social media. Comparing my marriage or husband to anyone else’s is stifling for both my mental health and my relationship with my husband. It sets him up for failure, and he doesn’t deserve that. When I feel comparison kicking in, I turn off the trigger, like Instagram, and double down on praying for my husband.
“I can’t believe you need ______ from me.”
I feel valued and loved when my husband hears my needs without judging or dismissing them. It’s true sometimes that what I perceive as a need is really a want, but in those cases there’s a deeper need I can only discover and express when he allows me to talk openly. Distrust and dismissiveness are things that destroy a marriage quickly. On the flip side, approaching my husband with a desire to perceive his needs brings life to our marriage, and I want to love him the same way in return.
“I thought we’d be farther along by now.”
Marriage is what Simon Sinek calls an “infinite game.” He wrote, “Infinite games have no finish line and the goal is to keep the game going as long as possible.” It’s helpful to remember there are no finish lines when we feel like we’re at square one with communication…again. Since we got married we’ve moved four times, changed jobs, bought a house, and had two kids. I’m tempted to think, “Shouldn’t we be past this communication block by now?” I have to give both him and myself grace. Staying present will remove unnecessary judgement and unhappiness.
“I gave you this, so you owe me that.”
At our wedding reception, we didn’t toss a garter. Instead, hubby surprised me by washing my feet. His gesture was symbolic of Jesus washing his apostles’ feet the night before he died for them on the cross. Marriage should be a mutual self-gift (and yes, that means I have to renew my attitude constantly!) It’s a marriage game-changer when you shift from asking yourself, “how can I get what I want today” to “what can I do to serve him today?”
It’s a marriage game-changer when you shift from asking yourself, “how can I get what I want today” to “what can I do to serve him today?”
What’s one attitude you want to change today to improve your marriage?