Today is Valentine’s Day. Rather than talk about the romance of it all, Gary Thomas shares how to adjust our attitude so we’re not disappointed when our spouse doesn’t do or say something we were hoping they would. He calls it having a Monk’s Marriage attitude…
Isn’t it true that many marital arguments result from disappointment with our spouses? We want them to be something or do something or catch something and they aren’t or they don’t, and we feel sorry for ourselves. We really do want them to love us like God loves us. We expect them to just know when we’ve had a hard day; to know that we’re lying when we say, “Don’t worry. It’s no big deal. I don’t need anything special”; to know that we need them to be strong or soft, to yield or to hold firm, just because that’s what we need them to do. If they truly loved us, they would know, right?
Be honest: Don’t you think or feel that way sometimes?
And you do recognize that’s an impossible burden for a human spouse right?
But what if I sought a “monk’s marriage”? What if I decided that I would depend on God alone, expecting nothing from my spouse but depending entirely on God for all my needs, including emotional and relational needs?
Then instead of resenting what my spouse doesn’t do, I’ll be overwhelmed (in a good way) by every little thing she does do. I’ll be filled with gratitude instead of resentment.
Isn’t the opposite exactly what happens in marriage? When you’re dating someone and he does something nice for you, you think: How wonderful! If you marry him and he doesn’t reach a certain threshold of gift giving, you think: This is all he got me? Seriously?
That’s why I want a “monk’s marriage,” the benefits of being married to a godly woman, but with a monk’s attitude, expecting nothing, depending on God, and so being genuinely grateful for whatever my spouse chooses to bless me with.
* Do you see your attitude as filled with gratitude, or filled with resentment? How would having a “monk’s marriage” improve your relationship with your spouse?
As this day unfolds let’s set aside our expectations and enjoy our spouse for who they are, not what they do.
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