When my husband and I were in premarital counseling, our counselor gave us some advice that definitely helped our marriage get started on the right foot. We were given many resources on starting a healthy marriage, keeping each other first, among other great advice. But one thing that stood out to me the most was this: “Only speak highly of your spouse.”
I know some of you are cringing, but hear me out. When we first got married I thought, well I’ve got this one in the bag. I would never speak poorly of my husband because he is the most amazing person to ever live and I get to marry him! Right? Totally my train of thought. It’s very easy to say what we will and won’t do in marriage until we’re actually… married.
I found myself at times going to complain about something my husband had done or ask another wife if her husband struggled with something similar. It’s only natural for us to want to voice those things. Now, there’s a difference in saying, “His snoring keeps me up all night,” and “I am so tired of picking up after him.” The snoring is something he can’t control. Picking up after himself is something he can control. I told myself if it is something that he can control, then he should be the one I’m talking to about it. If I ran to my girlfriend and complained about him not picking up after himself, who would that benefit? No one. If our husbands don’t know that what they are doing bothers us, how can they fix it? I quickly realized that they cannot read our minds… unfortunately. We have to communicate… over-communicate.
My husband and I both agreed to make this a priority in our marriage. We have both slipped up at times, but for the most part this rings true. What comes out of our mouth is an overflow of what’s in our heart. My heart is for my husband, my words need to be as well.
When I feel myself getting frustrated or bothered by something my husband is doing I ask myself a few questions:
- Does he know this bothers me?
- Is it something he can control?
- Is it something I need to let go?
- Is it worth bringing up?
If he doesn’t know it bothers me, I try to kindly and respectively say something. That way he is aware, and I’m not letting it build up and continue to bother me. If he does already know that it bothers me, I speak up. I like to call them “friendly reminders.” If it’s out of his control, I try to adjust. If it’s something that will continue to bother me if I don’t say anything? Then yes, I will bring it up. If it’s something silly that can easily be let go, I try my best to let it go.
There are things in marriage that I will want to complain about. I try to turn that focus to what my spouse is doing well rather than complain about what bothers me. What a great feeling for your spouse – to know that you are only speaking highly of them. We all have our faults, but our spouse should always have our back and our best interest in mind.
We are not perfect at this by any means, but the more aware I am of how I am speaking about my spouse has saved me many times. I never want to put my spouse in a negative light or put him down to others. We are a team and we are called to build each other up.
I do this in hope that he is doing the same for me. I put myself in my spouse’s shoes. Would I want him complaining about me to others? No. I would rather him come to me with whatever is bothering him so we can tackle it together.
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Let me know if this is something that you try to do or something you’re working on! I’d love to hear from you. Comment below!