Haunted By The “If Only’s” In Your Marriage?

Photo Credit: Todd Rowley

Photo Credit: Todd Rowley

If only…

two little words that can leave a huge dent in your marriage. Are you haunted by these two words? Are they the first ones that come to mind when your spouse fails you in some way? Maybe they forgot to do something that’s very important to you…something you’ve told them about time and time again. Maybe they didn’t take the hint of what you wanted for your birthday and got you something…dare I say it…practical? Or worse, maybe they forgot it all together! Maybe they aren’t as thoughtful as your best friend’s husband…forgetting to open the door or stand when you get up from the table?

Maybe…just maybe, the “if only” question is being asked of the wrong person.

Maybe we should ask ourselves the “if only” questions…



You read that right.

I’ve heard it said that when one spouse dies the “if only” questions often haunt the spouse left behind.

  • If only I hadn’t been so critical.
  • If only I had said I love you more.
  • If only I had not taken the things they did right for granted.
  • If only I had been more of an encourager.
  • If only I had celebrated all the little moments and not made such a fuss over the big ones messed up.
  • If only I had been a better wife/husband.

You get the idea.

“If only”–two very powerful words that can do great harm or great good in a marriage depending on who it is you’re focusing.

But your spouse is still very much alive and you want to change. How do we turn the tables on these two words and use them for the good of our marriage?

Ask yourself the “What if” questions…

  • What if I treated my spouse today as if it were our last day together.
  • What if I remembered that it’s more important to give than to receive.
  • What if I realized that my spouse isn’t like my girl or guy friends–and they never will be–and this is a good thing.
  • What if I cherished every small act of kindness done for me, even if it’s not what I’d hoped for, or how I wished it was done?
  • What if I made the most of all the things they do right and minimize the mistakes they make.
  • What if I maximized my mistakes and sought to grow and change with the same energy and zeal I used to go after theirs?
  • What if I made today the best day of our marriage?

How do you think these questions would change your today…your tomorrow…and the rest of your lives together?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

About Debi Walter

Tom and Debi have been sharing encouragements through their blogs for many years. Marriage, Reading God's Word and documenting family history is our focus. Growing in our relationship with the Lord is primary in all we say, write or do. We are grateful for all who desire to join us in the same endeavors.
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8 Responses to Haunted By The “If Only’s” In Your Marriage?

  1. This is thought provoking! I have never thought of if onlys and what ifs this way! Thank you, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on The Fragrance of Marriage! and commented:
    This is extremely profound!


  3. What a great way to turn the “me-mentality” on its head, Debi! We don’t often realize the power we hold to influence a relationship for the better by no longer blaming but taking responsibility for what we can control. Thanks for this profound post and linking up back at MM!


    • Debi Walter says:

      You’re so welcome! We waste so much time trying to fix things we have no power to change, and ignore the things we can change. Only by God’s grace will we see it. Thanks so much for your encouragement and the way you promote healthy marriages in the midst of the mess. 😊


  4. jgarrott says:

    Even before I got married (at 20!) I knew from watching my parents that marriage would be the biggest job of my life, but it would also bring the biggest rewards. Now, 46 years later, I know I was right!


    • Debi Walter says:

      J, congratulations on 46 years! Thank you for the example you’re providing for all who know you on what it takes to have a lasting marriage.


  5. I love your take on this. Really awesome concepts to apply to marriage.


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