I came home the other day to a hot house because my wife had set the thermostat to 82. A few days later a laundry rack appeared in the backyard where my wife started sun-drying wet laundry before putting it in the dryer. These days she follows me around and turns off the light whenever I leave it on. She’s obviously trying to cut our household expenses since she no longer works. I don’t know how much money we save by doing these things or whether these extreme measures are really necessary. But I do appreciate what she’s doing.
My wife is a good household manager. She takes care of all of our finances, including our taxes. She buys everything for me, including my clothes, so I don’t even know my own sizes. She does all the cooking and dishwashing, and never asks me to share in the chores.
I am sharing this not to brag but to tell you that even with such a good wife, a man could still be unhappy. In my case, discontent came from differences in our love languages. My love language is affirmation. My wife’s is being taken care of. Couples usually love their spouse with their own love language rather than with their spouse’s. So my wife takes care of me very well but is less active in affirming me or my ministry. I am good at expressing my appreciation and gratefulness to her but weak in expressing my love in practical ways such as fixing things in the house. So I have this inferiority complex that I am not a good husband. When she says something like, “People say that the hardest thing for wives when their husbands retire is preparing three meals a day,” I can’t help but think that I will be the most useless husband when I retire because I’m not good at doing household chores.
This sense of inadequacy as a husband turned into resentment: “If my wife valued her husband’s ministry the way others do she would value me more even though I’m not a great helper in the house!” Then I was made aware of my resentment and its ill effect on our relationship. So I decided to focus on her good qualities and ignore the areas in which I felt she was lacking. But my sense of resentment did not go away. Finally, I concluded that prayer was the only solution and started to pray in earnest. I prayed that I would truly appreciate my wife with genuine gratitude. Frankly, I was not sure that my prayers would be answered because it was my own mind I was praying for. But God is so faithful! He filled my heart with gratitude and genuine love for her. This is why I am so grateful for all the things she does for me and for us these days.
The secret to a happy marriage may be easy to find. It may be found in genuine thankfulness. I find that couples who appreciate each other stay happy together. I think that a thankful heart is even more powerful than love for a happy marriage. God can give us such a heart if we earnestly seek it. God is good!
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