I don’t know about you, but things don’t run perfectly at my house. Things break (this week it was the garage door), my 4-year-old pushes my limits, my husband has his grouchy moments, I have my pregnant hormonal moments, and our dog is rotten half the time (she’s asleep the other half). Yet, with all of this, we manage to maintain a pretty peaceful household the majority of the time. I’m convinced it is mainly because of prayer and some wonderful advice I read from an elderly couple who had been married over 50 years…mostly happily. The wife shared that the best advice she could offer other couples would be,
“Don’t have a bad day on the same day as your spouse.”
Do you know how many marriages, friendships, parent-child relationships would be radically changed if we just followed her advice? We all have bad days, where we lose our temper, give up on our dreams, or we just aren’t at our best. We have bad days because no one is perfect. It’s easy to see that our family members aren’t perfect but harder to see our own faults.
“We judge others by their actions but judge ourselves by our intentions.” -Ian Percy
That’s what makes her advice so hard. We have to choose in those moments:
- when your child is on your very last nerve
- or your husband says the absolute wrong thing
- or your dog eats your most favorite pair of red, peep-toed, sling-back shoes (it’s been 3 years and I still grieve them)…
…in those moments we must choose to offer grace, to remember our own shortcomings, to believe the best about the other person and to, like she said, not have a bad day on the same day as another family member.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to open the front door and let my dog run free the day she ate my shoes, or that I didn’t want to come back with a real zinger when my husband says something wrong, or completely lose it when, again, my child spills her drink after I had just said several times in the last minute to stop wiggling at the table.
But THANK GOD, just because we FEEL like saying or doing something, there is a Supernatural Filter available to us! Not everything that crosses our mind has to come out of our mouth.
“The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
There it is. Your daily choice: death or peace? I choose peace.
Happy Marriage Challenge:
- Ask God to show you what it’s like to live with you. This may hurt but it will give you plenty to think about to prevent you from screaming at your family in those moments.
- Spend time recognizing your family members for their good qualities. Write down positive things about each person. Post it in your office or laundry room where you will see it often.
- Pray before responding in those tense moments. Even if it is, “God help me!” Better to say nothing than respond in anger when your loved one is already not at their best. Remember, it’s not your day to lose it. Choose peace.