As a summer study the women at Sunrise Baptist are reading Linda Dillow’s book, What’s It Like Being Married To Me? And Other Dangerous Questions.
The book is an amazing eye opener into what life must look like for my husband, and let me tell you its not all rainbows and unicorns. (I guess if we are truly talking through his eyes I should say, it’s not the land of the ewoks.) If you know me, you know, my house isn’t always clean, there is usually a pile or two of laundry screaming at me from the couch and clutters of paper and art work amidst piles of books. But this book isn’t really about external clues is it. It’s deeper. While the externals do contribute to my husband’s overall feelings of being desired and adored, what is essential to our marriage is my attitude.
Griping is found early in the pages of Dillow’s book. She challenges each of us to wear a Gripes Be Gone bracelet transferring it from wrist to wrist to make us aware of our gripes. Today is my first day to wear one, and wouldn’t you know, today things have not gone as planned. But I have to say that because of this reminder on my wrist I’m seeing the good through the frustrating. Flights are being delayed and we have spent more time sitting on the runway then we have actually spent in the air. Plans have fallen through. Stress came in the form of a text describing a high maintenance bill for the church. Friends are calling with stress and illness in their own lives. Yet, I haven’t moved my bracelet once. I’ve pointed to it numerous times to let my daughter know what it means and I’ve stared at it hard with Bible verses coming to mind describing nagging contentious wives.
“It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. “ Proverbs 21:9 NLT
“Better to live in a tent in the wild than with a cross and petulant spouse.” Proverbs 21:19 MSG
“A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.” Proverbs 27:15-16 NLT
Instead of griping through the challenges I have no control over I’m choosing to see the blessings in them. I am thankful for volunteers who step up in my absence, I am beyond ecstatic to have cautious pilots who are concerned for my personal welfare and flight attendants with a sense of humor, I am grateful to doctors who are working to save a friend’s life and to the doctors who have spent years saving my daughter’s life (we are on our way to see them now- the reason for being in the airport and away from work in the first place), I am thankful that our small church has the money to cover the maintenance emergency because the men and women in our church generously give.
You see when we gripe we give away what is truly in our heart. If our hearts carry the peace of God in them, if we desire to love others fully as Christ does, then it is not griping that should come from our lips but joy.
Colossians 3:12-17, The Message
12-14So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
15-17Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.