Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What do you Say, when She’s Not There?

I spent years in the “public sector” working as an engineering and business manager, before entering into the ministry. I remember sitting around the lunch table with my workmates, discussing everything from sports to politics, to our families. I also remember all the bad things that those guys would say to the rest of us, behind their wives backs.

I also remember my wife telling me about the same sort of phenomenon happening with the women. In fact, from the way she said it, women are even worse about this than men are. Not that we can use that as an excuse to talk bad about our wives, just that it’s a problem that goes both ways.

I call it a problem because it is. How in the world can you talk bad about your wife in public, and then expect to go home and speak positively to her? How can you badmouth all the bad things she does, and then expect to see the good in her? How can you express dissatisfaction in your marriage, and then expect to act with love towards your wife? You know something, you can’t.

If you’re feeling a little guilty right about now, that’s good; or maybe it’s bad. It’s good, because you’re getting the point I’m trying to make. It’s bad, because you have a problem in your thoughts, which you need to deal with.

I have found that I can’t act sweet, loving and romantic towards my wife, unless I am feeling that all the time. Oh, I can do a romantic act without feeling that way, but I can’t live a life of doing romantic acts, without having romantic feelings towards my wife and romantic thoughts about her. My attitudes towards her when I’m away from her greatly affect my actions towards her when I’m with her.

When I was growing up, my parents told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” There was more wisdom in that statement than I ever realized. At that time, I thought it was all about avoiding gossip; and it is. But, I’ve since found out that it’s more than that, it’s about guarding one’s heart. You see, when we express negativity it increases the negativity in our hearts. 
On the other hand, when we think positively, it increases our positive thoughts and feelings.

If you are speaking negatively about your wife when you’re not together, that means you’ve got a heart full of negative feelings. You need to do something about that, and you need to do something quickly. The easiest place for you to start is by starting to talk positively about her, whether you feel it or not. Keep doing that, because your words will begin to change your heart.

I’ve actually experienced this. Several years ago, I went through an emotional crisis that lasted about a year. The crux of this crisis was feeling unloved and unappreciated by my wife. Now, let me say right here, that she wasn’t doing anything wrong. The problem was in how I was perceiving her words and actions. I was taking her working so hard (she was a teacher) personally, as if she didn’t want to be with me. I was wrong for my attitudes, she wasn’t wrong for her actions.

Although I don’t remember it, I’m sure that somewhere in there, thoughts of divorce presented themselves to me for my approval. Well, I didn’t approve them; instead, I did the opposite. I decided to change my thoughts and actions towards my wife. So, when I found myself thinking negatively about her, I would force myself to change my thoughts, and think positively about her. When I felt unloved by her, I would force myself to do something special for her or to buy a gift for her.

Guess what? That changed my thoughts. Not only that, but it brought me out of my emotional nosedive. My feelings followed my actions. Had I continued being negative, who knows where I would have ended up; but it wouldn’t have been good. Changing those thoughts renewed our marriage.
So, let me ask you, what do you say about your wife, when she’s not there?

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