In any relationship, there will be moments when both parties are just not on the same page. There will be disagreements, and there will be times when expectations are not met.
Unmet expectations may be a breeding ground for bitterness. Have you been there?
The trash wasn’t taken out as expected. He/She forgot to pick up the mail as promised. You were left waiting longer than you believed was reasonable. He/She stayed late at work…again.
Whatever you believe your spouse “should” be doing and isn’t – are you discussing it lovingly, or are you stewing about it?
Human nature says to stew. Oh, the thoughts that pop in our self-centered minds! “I shouldn’t have to put up with this!” “I can’t believe it happened AGAIN!” “Oh, I shouldn’t have to say anything, he should just know.” ”I wish she’d just stop nagging!!”
It’s so easy to get ourselves worked up when we let ourselves stew over the shoulds, but all it does is give bitterness a foothold. It’s not healthy.
So, how do we combat such negativity? Allow me to share a little secret with you….
Compassion Negates Bitterness.
Challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself how your spouse may feel. Did he forget because he’s too stressed at work to keep things straight? Is she exhausted? Is that what it was like for him growing up? Does she seem to be nagging because she feels unappreciated and unheard?
Understanding the motivation for your spouse’s actions may not excuse disrespectful or hurtful behavior, but it may help YOU better cope with it so you are better able to remain calm and respectfully address the situations that arise, whether in your marriage or in parenting. Seek understanding and you will gain wisdom.
Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
As soon as you begin feeling irritable, negative, and hateful:
- Check your attitude
- Pray for a compassionate heart.
- Focus on what is true, what is noble, what is right…. because love isn’t selfish.