Think about the last time you forgave someone. Did you feel like doing it? Probably not. Forgiveness is something we often have to choose even when we want to hold a grudge. Withheld forgiveness can manifest itself as the silent treatment or a lack of physical affection. Forgiveness invites us to desire what is best for our husbands even when we feel like hurting them. When we choose to show mercy and love to those who have hurt us, our wounds have a better chance of being healed.
When we show gratitude to our husbands—whether it’s for taking out the trash on a regular basis or washing the dishes when it’s not his turn to do it—we are acknowledging the gift that they are giving us. These acts of service are acts of love. We should see the things our husbands do as gifts to us (and vice versa!), and the appropriate response when receiving gifts is always gratitude. Bonus: Thankfulness is one of the good attitudes in marriage that leads to greater happiness overall.
How often in the midst of an argument with your husband have you yelled, “You make me so angry!” When marital conflicts arise, we are often tempted to blame our husbands for our feelings. But the truth? The only person who can control my feelings is me. Rather than blaming our husbands, we need to take ownership of our emotions. Yes, his actions might be in poor taste and in need of correction (no one’s perfect, right?), but we can choose to own our emotions and address the issue in a reasonable fashion. By identifying our feelings and the actions that have led to these feelings, husbands and wives can have a level-headed dialogue that leads to a solution.
That line is actually from one of my favorite podcasts, the Messy Family Podcast. In marriage, and especially in the raising of children, couples need to present a united front. As often as possible, spouses need to agree on ways of handling issues. For instance, if you’ve decided on timeouts as a suitable discipline for your children, you cannot undermine your husband by choosing a different form of punishment or releasing the kids from a timeout when he’s not looking. And if one of us makes a snap decision, we should always support one another in public—even if we need to discuss that decision further in private later. There is no “me” or “you” in marriage; it’s just “us.”
We should regularly affirm the things our spouses do that make us happy. If our husbands give us a nice back rub or wear our favorite shirt, we should let them know how we feel about it. We know how important positive feedback is in the workplace and for our kids at school. Why would marriage be any different? In the day-to-day life of married couples, especially ones with children, we can lose sight of the desire and need to please our husbands and have them please us. But voicing our happiness is one of the simplest ways to let our husbands know they’re on the right track.