The Perspective Shift

Last winter, my husband caught a cold, which ultimately lead to a shift in my perspective. At first, I was slightly irritated that he’d diligently worked all week with a wracking cough, but then decided to cancel our weekend Valentine’s Day plans because he suddenly needed to rest. We spent two days watching television on the couch in our pajamas while he drank lots of fluid and took over-the-counter cough medicine every four hours.

My husband does not slow down, so I should have known that a crisis was coming, but all I could think about was how I was missing out on flowers and a nice dinner at an expensive restaurant. My grumpy attitude soon took a backseat when I realized that my man had completely lost his appetite, and his cough was so debilitating that he hadn’t slept in 48 hours.

We ended up at the emergency room just three days later. Bruce was struggling to breathe, and I watched in alarm as an IV was placed in both of my husband’s arms. He had a killer case of pneumonia.

I sat in a chair next to his hospital bed for two days without sleeping until my sister in law drove two hours to come and make me go home. When I crossed the threshold into my house, I had new eyes to see my surroundings.

I picked up empty water bottles off tables and dirty socks from the floor and prayed that my husband would get to come home to sit at the table. I hoped with all my heart that he would return and leave lots of messes all over the house for me to clean up. I walked to the washing machine with his over-stuffed laundry basket and told God I loved to do my husband’s laundry and wanted to continue to wash his dirty clothes forever. All over my house, I saw evidence of my husband’s hard work and sacrifice. He might not have gotten me flowers on Valentine’s Day, but every day he worked tirelessly to provide for our family.

I am thankful for the perspective shift that God allowed me to experience. I’ve come to understand that every day is a gift from God to be appreciated and never taken for granted. Now, I cherish simple things like sitting on the couch and holding my husband’s hand as we watch television.

I’ve determined to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the simple joys in life. If you need a perspective shift like I did, here are some suggestions on how to combat a grumpy attitude in your marriage:

  • Start a gratitude time capsule: Once a week, sit down with your spouse and write down one thing that happened that week that each of you consider a blessing. Place your blessings in a box or jar for safe keeping. At the end of the year (or when life gets hard), pull out those slips of paper to remember and celebrate God’s abundant provision.
  • Look for the beauty: Once a day, think about how your spouse is a gift from God to you. Send your spouse a text to say you appreciate how they cook dinner or take out the garbage. Place a note in your loved one’s lunch box to say you are thankful for a partner who is a good listener and friend.
  • Practice praise with your spouse: As you end your day, snuggle up in bed next to the love of your life and lift your hearts to your God by verbally thanking Him as a team for the gift of life. Praise him for giving you the grace to make it through another day together.
  • Remember how far you have come: Spend some time this week looking back at the past and making a list of what your marriage has added to your life. How are you a better person because of your spouse? Write down 5 things on a slip of paper and tuck it into your Bible as a daily reminder.
Let’s purpose to be grateful for the gift of today and cherish each moment with our spouse.
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A life-long educator and mentor, Lyli Dunbar serves as Associate Director of Curriculum and Chair of the Department of Liberal Arts at Trinity International University Florida. She married her Prince Charming in her 40’s and has a heart for encouraging singles in God’s waiting room and connecting with other couples through a weekly small group in her home. Lyli enjoys traveling with her husband, laughing with good friends, and reading a well-written novel in her free time. Connect with Lyli through her blog at or on Twitter.

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