A story was shared of a couple who got divorced because the husband accused his wife of not being submissive enough. By that, he meant that his wife, though she submits her salary to him at every month end, but sometimes requests him to add to her monthly allowances so she can help her parents. He got pissed because he felt that it wasn’t in her place to request any amount other than the monthly allowances that he gives her. He was not contented with having that kind of woman as his wife, so he divorced her.
What he failed to understand was the truth that, her kind of woman is some men’s dream wife, but his lack of contentment with whom he had as a wife did not help him to see that virtue in her.
In another related shared story, a couple lived in frustration and bitterness with each other for twelve years because the wife accused her husband of not providing for her needs the way some of her friends’ husbands were doing for them.
Friends, some spouse’s lack of contentment with each other may account for the strain and breakdown of affection and joy in their marriages. Contentment in marriage invites you to appreciate your spouse, though s/he is not the best of all wo/men on earth, s/he is someone else’s desired spouse. The grass may look greener on the other side, but trust me, it may not be as green as you think; it may only be green on the surface. Underneath, it may be yellow or red.
For example, that neighbour’s husband you wish to exchange with your husband may have some flaws in his life which his wife is enduring, thus making him look flawless. The same can be said of some husbands who despise their wives’ affection and forbearing in admiration of someone else’s wife who looks perfect from a distance.
“…for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances.”
This praxis of Apostle Paul suggests the following lessons:
Contentment is learned. It is not inherent in human beings to be contented. What is inherent in human beings is the desire to have things that are not yours, while ignoring or despising the things you have. However, contentment does not mean a lack of ambition or seeking for a more enriching virtue in your spouse, but it entails learning to appreciate your spouse as s/he evolves.
Contentment breeds satisfaction. Contentment aids couples to find satisfaction in each other, appreciate their journey together, and empowers them to derive strength from each other.
Contentment, an antidote to uneasiness. The uneasiness or disturbances in some marriages can be cured or reduced to a bearable minimum if couples become contented with their present realities while hoping for better days. My wife and I have a guiding slogan when life confronts us with financial lack and difficult moments; we always remind ourselves to ‘enjoy the process.’ By that, we mean our present realities will not affect our affection and friendship with each other. That is, contentment keeps the love aglow amidst needs and lack.
Needless to remind you that contentment will grace you to enjoy the strength of your spouse as you both bear with each other through the weaknesses and trying moments of life. Also, always remember that your spouse’s kind maybe someone else’s desire.
Just as we talk of five-star hotels, in a sense we can also talk of five-star husbands or five-star wives. There are specific areas where the husband and wife must be excelling in order to become a five-star husband or a five-star wife. These are key areas of being available, being approachable, being appreciative, being accountable and being authentic. Let us take a brief look at each one after the other.
Simply being there. To each other and later to children.
Note the challenge of both or one person being at work 7-5 Monday to Friday (Plus part of Saturdays for some); at church 5-8 two-three days a week. Or even more difficult challenge husband and wife living in different towns.
Tough choices to make regarding work and living together.
Not reading the headlines when he/she is talking.
Make an effort to be at home, make time to be at home.
Cut down on outside social responsibilities, including clubs, sports and even “Fellowships” and “Ministry” engagements.
Simply “be there”.
It is not enough to be at home.
Mood: Don’t frown too much, don’t bone too much, substitute kissing for hissing.
Watch your tone. what you are saying may be right, but when you raise your voice you become wrong.
Mind your posture: In bed which direction do you face? Do you put yourself on the far edge of the bed facing the wall and almost falling down, with three pillows behind you?
Initiate little plays with each other.
Simply be a friend.
Dr. James Zasha – Marriage and Family Counsellor.
Aim at appreciating rather than depreciating him/her.
Look out for things to commend.
Be affirmative: Look out for the positives, and commend them.
Avoid being the Number One critic at home.
Substitute “I told you” with “I love you”.
Substitute condemnation with commendation.
Learn to say thank you; well done; you are doing well; I am proud of you; I love you.
Being accountable is giving another person your PERSONAL MEDDLING RIGHTS (PMR), the right to meddle in your private and personal matters and ask you irritating questions.
Being accountable is letting another person enter your private universe, and being willing to supply any missing information.
Avoid keeping “Secret” Files. Each person has a private universe that is carefully guarded. In this personal universe, you find lots of information. There may be ‘classified’ information regarding relationships, fears, financial matters, indebtedness (e.g. the food he brought may have been bought with borrowed money, but he/she is too ashamed to share that information), inside the private universe there is a file marked in red “Secret”.
Let him/her into your inner universe, your inner world.
Maintain openness with each other.
Simply have nothing to hide.
Being authentic means being genuine, original, real.
Just be yourself, be who you are.
Avoid being fake.
Avoid seeking to impress.
Avoid seeking to express your identity in things, positions and possessions.
Seek to find your identity in God through your relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.
Evaluate yourself as husband or wife.
Take a moment to assess yourself on each of the areas as a husband or wife. If you think you are doing very well on being available, give yourself a star. Do the same with each of the areas. Add up the number of stars you have at the end of the assessment. If you have only one star, you are a one-star spouse. If you have five stars, you are a five-star spouse. You can then share your assessment with your wife, husband for validation, discussion and prayer towards becoming a five-star spouse.