I rolled my eyes, bent over and snatched the terrycloth heap off the floor. His robe lay on the floor beside the bed exactly where he’d dropped it the night before. And there it would’ve stayed unless I picked it up. He’d already gone to work.
“In addition to changing diapers, taking care of kids, and cooking the meals,” I thought, “he expects me to pick up after him, too?”
Sound familiar? We–my husband and I– were weathering a stormy season in our marriage. We had young children; he had long hours; and I had a short fuse. I was irritated, frustrated and overwhelmed.
The atmospheric pressure in our relationship was low, which meant most days were cloudy with a high possibility of storms.
I could either accept the conditions as they were or I could change the forecast.
Believe it or not, you can forecast the conditions in your marriage a lot like the weather person forecasts the weather. A forecast is only a prediction of what the weather person thinks the weather will be like in the near future.
You can certainly change the condition of your marriage in the future based on your current thoughts and actions.
I haven’t always been the best at keeping favorable conditions in my marriage. My mood, attitude and response to situations–just like yours– accurately predict whether the pressure will be high or low. Here’s what I mean.
- Sunny. In a sunny situation, he leaves for work without picking up his socks off the bathroom floor. I hum “I’m in the Mood for Love” as I scoop the socks up and waltz them to the hamper.
- Partly cloudy. In partly cloudy conditions, I pick up the socks, but I’m not singing or dancing.
- Mostly cloudy with a possibility of storms. In mostly cloudy conditions with a possibility of storms, I debate whether or not to pick up the socks. If I do, I don’t put them in the hamper, I lay the dirty socks on his pillow.
- Stormy. In stormy conditions, I step over the socks. I call him at work, tell him he left his dirty socks on the floor, and he’d better pick them up when he gets home.
All marriages go through stormy seasons. It’s in the contract: for better or for worse.
But you can weather the storms with an attitude shift. When seasons change in your marriage and you find yourself in a gloomy situation, look for bright spots in your spouse to help weather the storm.
Why is it important to look for good things in your spouse? You don’t have to keep a list of his negative traits. They’re easy to recognize. They’re in our faces. We trip over them. We pick them up. We clean them up.
It’s harder to keep track of his positive attributes.
When you feel a dip in atmospheric pressure in your marriage, these strategies can help take the pressure off by directing your attention to things you love about him.
- Start a daily gratitude journal about your spouse.
- List the reasons why you fell in love with him.
- Keep track of the positive things he does.
- Share something positive about your spouse with someone else.
- Make physical contact with him. Hold his hand or put your arm around him in bed.
- Pray for him.
- Ask God to change your heart towards him.
No matter what the atmosphere is like in your marriage right now, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Unlike the weather, you can change the conditions in your marriage. You can decide to have a relationship that’s sunny and clear, regardless of your circumstances.
Marriage isn’t sunshine all the time, but I can choose how I’m going to respond when the conditions aren’t favorable. How? By looking for the silver lining behind around clouds in my marriage.
How do you respond to cloudy conditions in your marriage?
Get your real on,