Newly dating couples gush about their partner. They highlight the positives and support, often even defend, all other aspects of their significant other. Their interactions predominately focus on thankfulness and gratitude.
They view their partner as a gift. Someone they feel blessed and lucky to be attached to.
But that perspective can shift as time progresses. The tone can be less gushing and more critical in nature. The newlywed’s flaws can begin to feel less quirky and shift to more frustrating and annoying.
And before you know it, your new spouse can feel more like a burden and less like a gift.
- What are the thoughts you have about your spouse?
- Note what flashes in your mind as you are watching your spouse complete a task. Are they thoughts of gratitude, respect, and thankfulness? Or are they thoughts of resentment and annoyance?
- How do you talk about your spouse to your family and friends?
If the answers to the above questions aren’t what you’d like them to be, don’t lose hope. There are many ways to shift your focus back to believing your spouse is a gift. But it is an active process and one that requires intentional effort.
1. Pray for God to Change You
When we pray for God to change other people, the prayer is often focused on how we would benefit from their change. But the softening of the heart needs to be with you.
Ask God to show you how He delights in your spouse. To give you a renewed sense of love and affection towards him/her. As God created your spouse, ask Him to reveal the gifts and talents He bestowed on them.
Pray for patience, kindness, love, and respect. Ask God to help to remove any bitterness, resentment, and harsh thoughts from your mind.
2. Revisit Your Vows
“I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
These are the classic wedding vows. Even if you chose to write your own vows, it is likely that the focus was on how you were going to love and take care of your spouse.
How are you currently doing at upholding those vows? Take inventory on how you can actively choose to love your spouse better. Challenge yourself to be a better spouse regardless of how your spouse is currently choosing to love you.
3. Focus on Thankfulness
To stop negative thoughts you have to intentionally replace them with something else. Focus on all of the aspects of your spouse that you are thankful for.
List as many attributes about your spouse that you are grateful for and admire. Make the list as detailed as you can. And then remind yourself of the items often.
Pray over the list every morning. Thank God for these qualities every night before bed. Show your spouse appreciation for the items you came up with. And add to the list whenever you can.
4. Continue to Get to Know Your Spouse
Make sure that your spouse remains a priority in your life. All too often when life gets busy the components that are difficult or not as enjoyable gets pushed further and further down the list.
If your marriage is not feeling as joyful and as easy as it once was, the risk can be to put other things first. Unfortunately, then your spouse can become a stranger. And the connection can become even more strained.
Find time to interact and be curious about your spouse and their day. Ask their opinion on daily issues and current events. Schedule time to spend together. Participate in joint activities.
Your spouse was brought into your life for a reason. Choose to view them as a gift.