The women at Sunrise read Linda Dillow’s book, What’s It Like Being Married To Me? And Other Dangerous Questions as a summer study.
The book is an amazing eye opener into what life must look like for my husband, and let me tell you it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. (I guess if we are truly talking through his eyes I should say, it’s not the land of the Ewoks.)
If you know me, you know, my house isn’t always clean, there is usually a pile or two of laundry screaming at me from the couch and clutters of paper and artwork amidst piles of books. But this book isn’t really about external clues. It’s deeper. While the externals do contribute to my husband’s overall feelings of being desired and adored, what is essential to our marriage is our attitudes.
Griping is found early in the pages of Dillow’s book. She challenges each of us to wear a Gripes Be Gone bracelet transferring it from wrist to wrist to make us aware of our gripes. Of course, the first day I put mine on things did not go as planned. But I have to say that because of this reminder on my wrist I was able to see the good through the frustrating.
Katie and I were on our way to St. Jude Children’s hospital. Flights were delayed and we spent more time sitting on the runway then we actually spent in the air. Plans fell through. Stress came in the form of a text describing a high maintenance bill for the church. Friends were calling with stress and illness in their own lives. Yet, I didn’t move my bracelet once. I pointed to it numerous times to let my daughter know what it meant and I stared at it hard with Bible verses coming to mind describing the frustration boiling to the surface. None of them are overly kind to wives. Fairly certain each reference to wife can easily be replaced with person, husband, son, or daughter. In fact, the farther I get into this parenting gig the more I wonder if it should say teen rather then wife (but that’s for another post).
It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.
Proverbs 21:9 NLT
Better to live in a tent in the wild than with a cross and petulant spouse.
Proverbs 21:19 MSG
A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.
Proverbs 27:15-16 NLT
Instead of griping through the challenges I have no control over I choose to see the blessings in them.
- I chose to focus on the volunteers who stepped up in my absence
- I focused on the blessing of cautious pilots who are concerned for my personal welfare and flight attendants with a sense of humor
- I will always be grateful to doctors who work tirelessly to save lives and to the doctors who have spent years saving my daughter’s life
You see when we gripe we give away what is truly in our heart. If our hearts carry the peace of God in them, if we desire to love others fully as Christ does, then it is not griping that should come from our lips but joy.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Colossians 3:12-17, The Message
I’ve since come to learn that our thoughts shape our brain. Mindfulness and gratitude leave a lasting impression on our brain. While I don’t believe that positive thinking alone brings us to a better life, there is some science behind negativity and a depressive thinking cycle.
Grief, pain, and anger towards injustice are important parts of life to acknowledge. No amount of positive thinking or wishing it away simply fixes it. But when it comes to my marriage learning how to gripe a little less and look for the good in moments of frustration can only help. Save the gripes for the legitimate moments. Mourn when it’s time to mourn and laugh when it’s time to laugh. Using the gripes be gone method will help you better identify between the two.
Have you read it? Do you have a favorite book on marriage? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
This book review was first shared on June 21, 2012. I enjoyed the book a great deal and thought it was a good one to refresh and bring out to share again.
Featured Image by William Stitt on Unsplash