Sometimes someone says something about marriage that stops you in your tracks. Other times someone says something that stops you in your tracks, then proceeds to kick you in the pants in a way that sends you flying onto the track you should have been walking down in the first place. Craig recently provided me with one of those moments when he said, “Don’t let what you want rob you of what you have.” Meaning, when your eyes are on some other prize, you might just be losing what you’ve already won. He went on to illustrate that most of us are so blessed that we upgrade things—TVs, cars, houses, and relationships—that still work.
Let’s apply this to marriage. I don’t find myself wanting to be married to someone else, but sometimes my desired to see my marriage improve can distract me from what I already have. In another message, Craig talked about marriage contentment like this: “If the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, then water your own lawn.” Okay, Craig, take it easy. Now you’re stepping on my toes and my actual lack of gratefulness for my spouse.
Contentment and gratitude aren’t identical, but they sure are family. Contentment lives somewhere near the beginning of the track toward a more grateful marriage. And gratefulness is a value that will make your marriage—and pretty much everything else—healthier than you can imagine.
For instance, it’s difficult to have gratitude for something you’ve received when you’re at the same time wanting more of that very thing. Think of a toddler who says thank you for sweets because they’ve discovered that’s how to get more. Are they glad to have the sweets? Yes. But, are they content with what they’ve already received? Probably not. A grateful perspective realizes God gave us the good marriage we have, responds with praise, and then believes His continual provision is and will be enough. Yet, we often come to God and our spouses with a toddler-like, “Thank you. More, please.”
So, how do we water our own lawns with a dose of contentment and gratitude? Here are four ways to get started today.
- Thank God daily for the marriage you already have. Think of different aspects of your marriage to thank Him for each day.
- Set a daily reminder in your phone to thank your spouse for something they have control over—their work ethic, their consistency, their smile, their dedication to you.
- Think about something your spouse loves and pour resources into it—time, money, help, etc.
- Start the I’m Grateful Bible Plan with your spouse today.