When Your Spouse's Attitude Stinks
What should you do when your spouse's attitude stinks? In today's blog, author Amber Lia reminds us that in order to be blessed we must first be a blessing.
I was mad, plain and simple. My husband, Guy, was being a downer, grumbling about the weekend “Honey Do” list I presented him with on a bright Saturday morning. We were newlyweds, and my idea of a great day was making our little apartment a home. That meant puttering around, hanging family pictures or painting the bathroom accent wall. Him? Not so much.
I could tell he wasn’t thrilled when I suggested these odd jobs, and I took it personally. Didn’t he love me? Want to please me? The bathroom wasn’t going to paint itself, I reasoned. His chagrin over helping out turned me sulky. Grumpy and sulky. That was us. I felt like his attitude stunk, and deep down I knew mine did too.
The good man that he is, Guy went about attempting to line up our wedding pictures to display in the living room, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted him to enjoy it! The more I wallowed over his attitude, the more I began to feel convicted that his attitude wasn’t the only one that needed adjusting.
That same week, I had been studying the book of Proverbs with a group of girlfriends. One particular verse--Proverbs 11:25-- had impressed me with its poetry, but in this challenging moment with my husband, the Holy Spirit used it to gently convict me:
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”
It was clear to me that while I wanted Guy’s attitude to change, I was not considering my own selfish attitude. If I wanted to be blessed, I needed to first be a blessing. It suddenly dawned on me that the reason we struggled to feel connected in our marriage during those early days was because we were thinking of ourselves, first. What we needed was a different kind of “Me First Attitude.”
“... I was not considering my own selfish attitude. If I wanted to be blessed, I needed to first be a blessing.”
In our book, Marriage Triggers, I write, “It may sound surprising and unbiblical, this advocacy for having a ‘Me First Attitude.’ The Bible teaches us not to think of ourselves first, but stay with me. Read the following verse with your attitude toward your spouse in mind:
Romans 12:10 (ESV): “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Do you wake up in the morning, seeking ways you can “outdo” your wife or husband in showing her/him honor?
That fine Saturday morning could have been so different. We could have kindly talked over one another’s priorities for the day, striking a mutual balance. I could have been quick to bless him by making time to watch some of the game, and he could have shown me how much he cherished me by assuring me he would fit in ample time to begin priming the bathroom walls for paint. We could have both flourished under one another’s desire to “outdo” one another in showing honor and affection toward each other. We missed the opportunity to love sacrificially and selflessly--the very things we vowed to do on our wedding day.
Eventually, we both came around. I apologized for making assumptions and miscommunicating my expectations. He acknowledged his part too. Fourteen years later, we know it takes intentional actions of serving one another and checking our moods and perspectives in light of Scripture to have a healthy relationship that honors God and each other.
Perhaps there is a long record of wrongs in your marriage. It may feel like an impossibility to be first to apologize. First to lend a hand. First to do the dirty work. First to tick off items on the “Honey Do” list. First to plan a date night. First to get up in the night with a crying baby. And yet, the Word of God is True. When we posture ourselves in the same manner as Jesus, who humbled Himself for us, we will always come away refreshed and restored. We can’t change our spouse’s demeanor, but when we put on a “Me First Attitude,” it becomes a privilege and a blessing, to adjust our own.
A former high school English teacher, Amber is a work-at-home mom of four little boys ranging from 3 to 13. She is the best-selling co-author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, say Something New. She and her husband Guy own Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. Their book, Marriage Triggers, was released in January of 2020. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach, or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at Mother of Knights (www.motherofknights.com).