Better Attitude, Better Marriage

At about 6:00 this morning (on a different day than the one you are reading this post), I snuggled my sick baby boy while my husband cleaned up the several places around the house where baby boy had (take a guess; not the smell for starting the day). Still in our pajamas, eyes glazed over, and without our morning coffee, we stumbled around trying to figure out the best way to care for our son—and trying our best to be patient with one another.

That same day, my husband had planned to golf, work and spend time with us. I had intentions to read the Bible, head to the park with baby, start planning his 1st birthday party, and fold the laundry before our friends came over later in the afternoon.

Plans changed. I petitioned the Lord for help, kept a hopeful attitude and went on with the day as it happened.

It wasn’t ruined. It just was what it was.
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We triumphed in that we didn’t bite each other’s head off and kept our cool.

When we were first married, this kind of abrupt, hectic (and messy) change to plans would have thrown me off balance, sending me into a tizzy of anxiety and a bad mood—watch out.

Here’s a little story from earlier on in our marriage: a couple of years ago, my husband whisked me away to Paris for a European holiday.  While, in the end, it turned out a to be a lovely trip, the first hours in La Ville-Lumiere did not go the way I had imagined. Jet-lagged and hungry, we couldn’t find the phone number to reach the hostess of our Airbnb rental. When we finally did, she was not particularly friendly with us. After we were settled, I was ready to execute my “do and see as much as possible plan,” while he had something else in mind. A heaviness settled between us and eventually a not very romantic conversation started. In the middle of the beautifully ancient cobblestone Rue, we decided it best to take an hour apart to walk and pray. My plans for amazingly romantic afternoon were squashed—they were ruined.  (To his credit, I found him at the end of the hour at a table for two with wine and a bouquet of flowers—redeemed.)

In both anecdotes, plans went south to Rio but my attitude was different—hopeful vs hopeless, content vs. discontent and flexible vs. resistant. At the root of these attitude shifts is humility. The Lord has helped me to be more humble—that is to see beyond myself—through marriage and family life.

Today, as my husband and I worked together to care for our sick child, physically and mentally depleted, we humbly relied on the strength of the Lord to help us—particularly in moments of annoyance and frustration. Back then, as I worked to try to control our Parisian experience to be sure we had the most wonderful time,  I pridefully relied on myself.

The throw up scenario went far better than the holiday scenario even though, by worldly standards, it is the less desirable experience. What made it better? The Lord sustained us. He was on our minds. We peacefully helped each other get through a difficult situation.

Undesirable experiences in life don’t have the power to control our attitude and responses to them. We, with the help of the Holy Spirit, do have the power to control our attitude and responses to not-so-fun moments.

That lesson, steeped in humility and ready for growth, is an important one from and for my marriage—because marriage, and relationships in general, are full of undesirable experiences. We can choose to humbly accept the situations we find our selves in and act accordingly out of obedience to the Lord and for the sake of our relationships.

Choose to be a prideful stubborn pain in the you-know-what and you may just end up on a romantic stroll in Paris…all alone (I wouldn’t recommend that.)


With a BA in Public Communication and certificate from the Denver Publishing Institute, Shannon has worked in book publishing and ministry. She currently stays home with her son and writes when she has the time. She is grateful for her small group, coffee, the Bible and living by the lake, and she enjoys laughing with her husband and son, finding good taquerias (and then eating there), reading historical fiction, and being outside. An amusing marriage tidbit: while she and her husband enjoy doing many of the same things, like watching 24, they walk at very different paces, which they find both funny and annoying. She lives on Chicago's north side.

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