I love the story my mentor, speaker and author Pam Farrel tells about her husband Bill and his love for coffee. Bill jokes that Pam, who doesn’t drink coffee, is naturally caffeinated by God. It takes him three cups just to catch up with her. The downside of Bill’s need for java is his habit of leaving coffee cups everywhere…in the garage, in the car, in the closet, on the patio, in the office, in the bathroom – anywhere but the dishwasher.
Those coffee mugs were driving Pam crazy!
But instead of trying to change her dish-impaired husband, Pam decided to take a different approach. She actually looked for a way to rejoice in the midst of those pesky mugs. She decided to say a prayer for Bill every time she saw one of those stray mugs. Instead of muttering under her breath, she prayed. Here’s what she said about making that shift in her mind:
Coffee is a part of what makes Bill, well, Bill! One day, as we were preparing to move and I was doing that last load of dishes, I realized it was composed of all coffee mugs! 47 of them to be exact! It made me smile because years ago, I decided to pray for Bill every time I saw one of his empty, displaced mugs. I was seeking to apply the principle, “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). I learned to embrace the ever reappearing dirty coffee mug with fond affection because it reminds me of my hard workin’ man who requires caffeine to do all the wonderful acts of service that benefit so many – including me. Praying for Bill when I see a coffee mug, even when I travel and might be away from Bill, has become my life rhythm.
Isn’t that a wonderful way to turn a bother into a blessing?
When your spouse falls short of perfection, extend the same grace that you would want to receive yourself. Make the choice to be grateful, not irritated, by all the things that make your spouse tick. I love what Liz Curtis Higgs says about marriage…we all come as a “package deal.”
Remember the words of Proverbs 15:15,
All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
You can stew about your spouse’s shortcomings, or your can feast in the positives! In your marriage, when you choose to thank God for your spouse daily, there will be no room for grumbling. You will overlook those little things that used to bother you, choosing to hone in on the many things you are thankful for instead. A grateful heart, unlike the grumbling heart, welcomes God’s presence in your home. Zig Ziglar said it so well, “The more you are grateful for what you have the more you will have to be grateful for.”
Here’s something to try today: Pretend you are holding a magnifying glass. Instead of zeroing in on your spouse’s faults, you are going to intentionally place that magnifying glass right over his or her strengths. What are two strengths that you see?