We recently had a long run of viruses in our home. All is good until Mama gets sick. I went down on a Monday about the same time the kids got home from school. I stayed in the bed until lunch the next day.
Mamas don’t often get a true sick day. We work our mama job through the coughing, sniffling, and fever. My husband kicked it into high gear for this one. He took care of dinner, baths, and homework. He got the kids off to school the next day and stayed home from work to take care of our toddler.
His act of service and love jerked me out of a pattern of negative thoughts toward my husband. Previously, I surrendered to only seeing the wrong he did. Not just noticing it, but actually keeping a record of wrongs. Each successive day of little offenses erected a wall of irritation in my heart. Though none of his actions were intended to hurt me, they left me feeling unloved and disrespected. Small irritations fed a growing bitterness.
Love is not irritable and does not count up wrongdoing. (1 Cor 13:5)
We know true love doesn’t keep a list of wrongdoings. The opposite of recording wrongs is keeping a record of rights. That is exactly what I started doing. This practice changed my attitude toward my husband.
I literally jotted down the right things he did. It didn’t have to be big gestures of love like flowers or a date night. Simple things like a text during the day, helping with laundry, and playing with the kids while I cooked dinner made the list.
My heart began to soften toward him. Instead of meeting him at the door with a hint of frustration because he was late, I had a sense of gratitude lingering from my list making.
The practice of choosing gratitude over grudge changed my heart.
A few weeks after my sick day, I came home to my husband and a sink full of dirty dishes. After two hours with only a napping child to monitor, not a single dish made it into the dishwasher. Yes, the children were alive. But, the dishes!
Feeling taken for granted, it would be my tendency to complain and nag. Honestly, that is exactly where my heart went. Then I stopped. I considered his difficult week at work. I thought about everyone’s need to put their feet up every now and then and all the times I chose leisure over productivity. Suddenly, the dirty dishes weren’t so bad.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor 13:7)
This season of gratitude will come and go. If we allow gratitude room to take root, it can change our outlook. Consider keeping a gratitude journal for your spouse. Jot down everything they do right, even the small stuff. Begin to see small things become big, and big annoyances become small.
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