Dishonor, Neglect, and Taking for Granted My Spouse

What happens in marriage? 

We were so attentive to each other before marriage. We show each other how important and valuable they are to us.

But after we are married, we often become complacent and take each other for granted. I become focused on the things that annoy me instead of the special qualities in my spouse, the reasons we got married. We neglect the little things that show gratitude and appreciation.

When we truly feel gratitude, we experience heartfelt awe and appreciation for the goodness of something outside ourselves. Having gratitude towards someone or something means respecting its value and treasuring how unique, beautiful, or indispensable it is. (Susan Heitler Ph.D)

Without gratitude and appreciation, I don't feel valued by my spouse. 

When we are living up close and personal, hurt eventually happens. After the hurt, I may strike back and cause more hurt. Or I may withdraw and allow bitterness and resentment to set in. Resentment causes more hurt and leads to a hard heart.

If I don’t have the courage to extend appreciation, even when I see my spouse do something good, we get into a downward spiral. Then, my spouse doesn’t show appreciation and criticizes me . . .  then I am not going to show appreciation.

Disregard for my spouse's positive behavior or neglecting to show appreciation or ignoring his/her special qualities will lead towards a cold, hard marriage. 

With the Lord's presence in my life, I can be strong and have the courage to show appreciation and gratitude, even when I know that it may not be returned in the beginning. It will make me feel better as well as building bridges in my marriage.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
If I don't take that step of courage, I may see my marriage slip away or descend into a dark place. It's is worth the effort! 

I am reminded of a Joni Mitchell song from the '60's:
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone


We forget that happiness doesn't come from getting something that I don't have, but it comes from recognizing and appreciating something that I do have.

See our previous post on Appreciation and our next post on Elements of Appreciation.

Appreciation

The little things in marriage become the big things. When appreciation and kindness are expressed in the little things, a great marriage becomes a big thing.

We teach our children to say please and thank you. Do we set the example in the way we treat each other and the way we treat them?

Expressing appreciation in relationships carries great weight. As I recognize the good that my spouse does everyday and express it to him, I build a strong foundation for my marriage. He will know that I value him.

Think about something of great value that you want to last for a lifetime.

What do you do?

If you want something to last a lifetime, you treat it differently. You protect it. You don’t abuse it. You don’t expose it to harmful conditions. You don’t make it common. You treat it in an extraordinary way.

It becomes special because you make it special. It grows more beautiful and precious as you cherish it.

Marriage is the same.

I show value to my spouse as I express my appreciation and love every day.

My spouse knows she is special to me and our marriage grows more delightful and remarkable. It will last a lifetime!

Heart of Appreciation

The heart of appreciation is a grateful spirit.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16

Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays the most or fasts the most, it is not he who lives the most, but it is he who is always thankful to God, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it. William Law

That heart of appreciation and gratitude starts with gratitude towards a good God. Until I see His goodness and my need, I will have an attitude of expectancy towards Him rather than gratitude. In thanksgiving and praise to God is a heart that appreciates others.

See future posts on elements of appreciation and the opposite of appreciation.