Most of us are tougher on ourselves than anyone else would ever be. Unfortunately, that means we can also be tougher on our spouses than anyone else would be. When we enter marriage, we all enter with a set of expectations. Our hope is that those expectations will be met. When they aren’t, we have a lot to say, and it’s typically not very pretty.
But are our marital expectations reasonable? Are we asking for our spouse to do too much all in the name of marital bliss? Maybe.
But even if your expectations are perfectly reasonable, is your reaction reasonable when those expectations aren’t met? Are you quick to point out what your spouse did wrong, but never as quick to praise?
The problem with focusing on the bad
No one is perfect. NO ONE. That means when you made the decision to marry your spouse, you knew that imperfections were a part of the deal. You knew that they might do things to upset you or even disappoint you from time to time.
Yet, despite that knowledge, it seems like so many of us enter marriage expecting our spouses to never mess up. Or if we do expect it, we still get pretty upset when it happens. We feel let down.
And unfortunately, people sometimes choose to focus on the bad things. It seems so hard for people to let go of the bad, but we have to. You chose to marry your spouse, not just because you love him or her, but because the relationship adds goodness to your life (at least that’s what I hope).
So when you choose to focus on everything your spouse does wrong, it can damage the foundation of your relationship because it makes your spouse feel like you rarely focus on the things they do right. It can make someone feel like you forgot about all the good qualities they have.
What happens when you celebrate the good in your spouse
Everyone wants to feel appreciated. It’s human nature. And we also want to feel like the people we love see the good in us. Would you want to feel like all your flaws are highlighted, while all your good qualities are overlooked?
When you take the time to celebrate the good in your spouse, it makes them feel valued and appreciated. So what exactly are you celebrating? You are celebrating everything that makes your spouse special. You are celebrating ALL of the good.
- Is your spouse a good leader?
- Does she cook healthy meals for your family?
- Does he know how to meet your needs?
- Is she encouraging?
- Does he pray for you?
- Is she fun to be around?
- Is he kind?
- Does she have your back?
These questions are really just a starting point. It can make all the difference in the quality of your relationship if the person you married believes that you are able to see and celebrate the goodness you see in him or her.
There will be bad days. You may feel disappointed sometimes. You may even get angry. But you cannot let those experiences become the narrative for your marriage. You have to take those situations for what they are, process it, and find your way back to seeing the good in your spouse.
How you can make the shift
If you feel like you are focusing on negative things far too much, start thinking about why you chose to marry the person you married. The qualities are probably still there. Even if you’ve hit a rough patch, and even if time and life experiences have allowed you to see your spouse’s worst qualities, you have to always remember that goodness still exists.
When you feel tempted to focus on all the things your spouse does wrong, shift your mindset and begin to think about what they do well. Start to think about all of the goodness they add to your life. Then ask yourself if you truly take the time to celebrate that goodness. You see, if people think you don’t even appreciate the good they have to offer, they start to lose sight of it themselves.
Don’t let this happen in your marriage. Celebrate the good in your spouse. Sure, your spouse may be flawed, but so are you. Do you want your flaws highlighted or do you want your spouse to celebrate the good in you? I know what I want.
BMWK family, do you make the time to celebrate the good in your spouse?