My wife asked me to stop by the store on the way home to pick up some diced tomatoes. As I was checking out, a woman suddenly collapsed on the floor. A bystander, who happened to be a nurse, quickly started caring for her and assessing her condition. A man waiting in line helped her up and purchased her groceries. Another customer carried her groceries to the car. The nurse offered to give her a ride home until it became apparent the lady needed to go to the hospital. An ambulance was called. The paramedics arrived and were extremely kind and quick to care for her. It was so encouraging to see people work together to help someone in need.
Then, the next morning, I learned of looting in a nearby county during a tornado. People were actually stealing from the homes of people who had devastating losses from the storm. How low can you go? If I dwell on my experience from the store, I am encouraged. If I dwell on looters stealing from tornado-ravaged families, I feel the world is falling apart. We aren’t to ignore or deny evil, but we are to dwell on the good. It’s the same in relationships. You should invest in your marriage. Here are 10 things to do instead of complaining in your marriage.
Invest in Your Marriage
You don’t have to look far to see tremendous good and bad. The war in our minds between cynicism and gratitude is real. God gives us guidance in this battle in Philippians 4:8 “...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things."
The practice of looking for the good flows into your home and relationships as well. A gratitude focus can infiltrate your marriage if you’ll look to see all the good in your spouse. Conversely, a negative focus will infect your marriage. In fact, as you see all the bad in the world, it can put you in this mindset and if you’re not careful, you’ll start seeing it in your spouse as well.
10 Things To Do Instead of Complaining
Gratitude doesn’t come naturally—it must be cultivated. Here are 10 ways to cultivate gratitude, worship, and praise into your life and marriage.
- Memorize Psalm 100:4: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”
- Read the book One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp.
- Spend time with positive, uplifting people.
- Start every day giving God thanks for the blessings of the day before.
- Keep a running gratitude list of everything you are thankful for about your spouse.
- Make sure you limit or fast from the news.
- Be very careful with social media; it can suck you into unhelpful and negative debates.
- Don’t follow negative public figures on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Feeling good about our positions by listening to like-minded people demean others isn’t helpful or wise.
- Do nice things for people you don’t like. Scripture says “even pagans are good to those who are good to them.” What sets us apart as believers is how we treat those who are not good to us.
- Avoid negative talk. Heed the words of Ephesians 4:29: "No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear."
As believers, we are called to be part of the answer in a world filled with problems. Make a decision not to complain, but to be part of the solution.
- Instead of complaining about an unorganized house, pick up your stuff.
- Instead of being impatient with your spouse, be calm and kind.
- Instead of complaining about something to your spouse does that agitates you, keep it between you and God and pray for your spouse—and your own attitude and actions.
As believers, may our lives and marriages stand out. Be a rebel. Bring good to the bad. Shine light in the darkness. Love your neighbor—and don't forget—neighbor includes the spouse who lives with you!