We reach the precipice of the mountain, the spot where we can see for miles. The gorgeous mountains frame the picturesque valley below, the squares of farmland and the river running right through the middle.
We proclaim the beauty. We marvel at the grandeur. We stare off in silence, taking it all in announcing, “Isn’t it amazing?!”
It is – truly amazing. The incredible surroundings make us pause.
But the truth is that if we look closely, past all the beauty, there’s some ick too.
To be honest, the river is a weird shade of brown. The grassy fields are brown this season. There’s a highway dissecting our view. Right at our feet there’s a rotting apple core and discarded coffee cups.
Thing is, we don’t want to see all of that. We didn’t hike to the summit, feel the burn, and work our hearts to near capacity to view the gross bits. No, we worked hard to see the beauty and so that’s what we’re seeing.
This also happens much the same in marriage. Where we focus our gaze will determine the factors we see.
If we choose to see the myriad of things we love about our spouse, we’ll marvel at their beauty. When we focus on their strengths, the wonderful things they bring to our life, the way they challenge us and help us be a better ‘me’.
When we notice the big things, how they . . .
- connect so well with our kids,
- work so hard,
- pray for us each day,
its then that our hearts are full of love.
But it happens with the little things too. My heart nearly sings when my husband takes the stinky garbage out and I don’t have to. Watching him attack the laundry heap that is on our bed makes my heart skip a beat, and don’t even get me started on his wonderful head massage, even for just a few minutes.
When I see all of these things, it makes me feel like I have the perfect husband. He sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t he?
I’ll admit, though, I don’t always focus on these. Sometimes I get to the top of our marriage hill and I only see the ick, the lack, the parts that aren’t so perfect. I can tend to focus on the things that don’t shine bright and sparkly, the places that are bit more brown than a vibrant pop of colour. Instead of remembering all of the awesome, I only remember the ways I’ve been disappointed.
This happens quickly if I let it, and I don’t think I’m alone. It can sink into our hearts and minds in a mere moment, yet it takes up residence for weeks, months or even years.
When I notice this happening, I do a quick adjustment, a re-focus of my heart and my mind, if you will. I mentally push all the ‘less than perfect’ right out of my mind, because I’ve got a few not so perfect traits myself. I focus on the one, two, and soon 20 things that I just love and appreciate about him.
It changes everything.
What we choose to focus on can make the mountain top the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen or a great big heap of disappointment.
Start today by finding just one thing about your spouse that you love. One thing you’re thankful for. One thing that is just so good. Tomorrow look for another. I’ll bet it’s there, and before the week is up you’ll have a list of great things and a new view of your marriage that has more beauty than the lonely one you felt when you were simply seeing the mess.
I want my husband to focus on my good qualities too, the many things I contribute and the ways that he loves me rather than my faults and quirks. If that’s what I want from him, then it can only benefit our marriage to give the same thing back!