Marriage Entitlement’s Kryptonite: Appreciation

I recently blogged on how entitlement is the biggest enemy in our marriages.  What follows is what I call the Kryptonite to our entitlement–that is, the one thing entitlement can’t be in coexistence with: appreciation.  In my ten years of marriage, I’ve had nine years of living entitled, and one year (the most recent) of living in appreciation and let me tell you, the one is 1000x better than the nine.  I originally wrote what follows to men, as we are the ones who typically think we are studmuffins that our wives don’t appreciate.  The studmuffins who every pretty smiling receptionist must be infatuated with (though in reality she’s just doing her job by being friendly…).  What we need is a cold dose of appreciation.  While I’m a primary culprit of this, I think this definitely applies to ladies as well.  Ladies, as you read, please swap out “wife” for “husband” and so on…

Our wives will never be able to keep up with the competition.  A lot of marriage counseling strategies teach us to enhance our wives’ positive qualities so she is more satisfying to us than the competition (porn, other women, etc.). Like it’s a contest between her and them.  There is no long-term solution with this strategy and there is no freedom with it.

There is simply too much competition at our fingertips:  Throngs of women looking for attention; throngs of electronic female replicas vying for your mouse click.

Meanwhile, your wife is only human.

You know everything bad about your wife, whereas you only know others on a surface level.

You see her wife on her worst days.

You smell her breath when you both wake up in the morning (and she smells yours!).

Your wife has no chance compared to temptation’s flirtatious snapshots.

Instead of focusing on what we don’t have (the entire premise of His Needs, Her Needs), living pardoned focuses on what we do have.

Living pardoned realizes that when the classic hymn “Amazing Grace” says Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like _______, that the name that goes in the blank is my own, not my wife’s.

Living entitled treats our wife like she’s the wretch in need of an overhaul.

Living pardoned realizes I am the wretch that no earthly overhaul can ever cure.  That the only cure for me is the mercy of Jesus—that I am a shattered vessel that his grace has made whole.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like ME

My wife is no longer insufficient for “a stud like me.”  She is now a gift for a wretch like me.  A gift I don’t deserve.

Your sins put in an eternal life sentence of prison called hell.

You have been pardoned by Jesus.  You are set free.  You walk out of your prison.  No longer entitled, but appreciative of every singing bird and falling leaf.

The sun shines down on you as you take your first breath of air as a free man.  A long, crisp, deep breath.

How do you feel?

More importantly, how will you live?

How will you live as a husband?

Stop paying attention to what your wife doesn’t do. 

Stop keeping track of your love tank and your love bank.

You and I are insecure, bankrupt, helpless sinners whose love tanks will never be filled by a human being.  To think our wives could do this for us is the definition of idolatry and is the most unfair position we can put her in.

Stop keeping score.

The worst prayer you can ever pray is, “God, give me what I deserve.”  (“God, give me hell???” No thanks!)

Thank God that He doesn’t keep score!  We would all be in serious trouble.  He doesn’t keep score, thus you have no right to keep score.

Pay attention to what your wife does do.

Pay attention to who she is.

Appreciate her.

Be grateful.

Show your gratitude.

You do not deserve her.

She is a gift.

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