In my last post I talked about trying to change your spouse and how that's just not something you can do. I ended it by reminding you that you are the only person you can change. Anytime I hear someone talk about all the things they wish their spouse would change I always want to ask "And what do you need to change?"
I remember several years ago getting a copy of Stormie Omartian's book "The Power of a Praying Wife". I bought it because I thought it would show me how to change my husband through prayer, which is of course the more spiritual way to go about it. However the very first chapter focused on me. She spent 23 pages talking about all the things I needed to do, the things I needed to work on and change about myself and my interactions with him. I was so angry that I closed the book and didn't open it again for about another year! See I wanted him to change so much about himself but wasn't willing to focus on all the many things I needed to change about myself. So i'm not even going to attempt to tell you how to change your spouse or things that they should be doing differently. Instead, let's talk about you! First off, here are things you need to minimize and try to get out of your relationship...
1. Minimize Complaints
It is so easy to just sit around and complain about your spouse. I think way too often when talking to your friends or family members, people do nothing but complain about their spouse instead of building them up. But it is so important to not do that! If you are having any trouble with your spouse and your family not getting along, check yourself in this area. Do you complain about your spouse to your family? If so, this could be playing a HUGE part in their opinion of your spouse without you even realizing it.
2. Minimize Correction
For us girls this can be a big one! We get so busy correcting our kids all day long and when our husbands get home we stay in correction mode. This isn't a good thing! Remember, your spouse is a grown person, fully capable of making decisions and functioning without your correction. Each time you correct them you are simply telling them you don't think they are capable of behaving like a responsible adult. Do your best to just cut out correcting them.
3. Minimize Judgement
It's so easy to be critical and judgmental of those around you, but especially of your spouse. You know all the best and the worst about them and quite often can be the most judgmental of those qualities. But something to remember is, if you create a judgmental atmosphere in your home, everyone will always be pointing fingers and judging. It doesn't just stay between you and your spouse, it transfers to your kids!
4. Minimize Self-focus
To have a successful relationship you have to take your eyes and your focus off of yourself! Forget about getting attention and instead, focus on giving it to your spouse. I think this is one of the most important things you can do! Stop worrying about what you want and need and worry about what your spouse wants and needs. When you both do this, you are both constantly being taken care of.
5. Minimize Vain and Empty Imaginations
I did an entire post on Your Pretend Spouse and really dealt with this issue in-depth so i'll only talk about it briefly here. Whenever you spend all of your time focusing on what your spouse isn't doing and who they aren't, you keep yourself and your marriage in a state of unhappiness. Not only that, but when you do those things you don't even allow your spouse the opportunity to change because you're so focused on what they're not doing you never see what they are doing. If you deal with this, please read the link above! I give several things you can do to get out of this habit.
6. Minimize Accusations
I know that it's human nature to point the blame at someone else when something goes wrong but remember, as a Christian you are no longer controlled by your human nature! Anytime you are tempted to point your finger at your spouse and blame them turn that finger on yourself. Anytime you find yourself in the middle of a fight with your spouse understand that you are at least partly to blame, it really does take two people to fight. Even if your spouse did do something wrong, the minute you enter into a fight and start accusing them you are just as much at fault. Nothing gets accomplished in a fight!
7. Minimize Drama
This is a big one for me! I am a very dramatic person so I tend to bring drama into our relationship as well as any arguments we have. I have found that when I keep drama out of the equation things get resolved so much quicker! Life is hard enough without making things more dramatic than they really are so do everything you can to keep the drama out.
Since I do my "Fun Friday" posts each Friday I will continue this topic next Monday when I talk about 8 things you need to maximize in your relationship.