How well I remember the phone call my husband received. His sister called to tell him the big news: she was engaged.
She then enthusiastically told him of every quality her future husband possessed. My husband hardly spoke at all.
After the phone call I asked my sweetheart, “So, how is he?”
Smiling with knowledge I said, “Ask her if she still thinks he’s perfect 20 years from now.”
We both laughed over that one.
It has been said we should enter marriage with our eyes wide open and after marriage keep them half shut.
All too often the opposite happens. Because of giddy romance we don’t see clearly before marriage and after marriage our eyes fly open wide—in horror! We can’t believe we married that!!
Well, prior to my marriage I vowed I would find the perfect husband. I spent hours of teenage time creating lists of attributes he would have to have for me to love him for eternity. My list varied over time but the first five qualities were always the same: tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, love spaghetti, want to live in Arizona.
So, how did I do?
We live in Montana and I also struck out on the tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed pseudo Italian part. In fact, I can safely say that spaghetti is far down on his list of favorite meals.
But you know what? He eats it anyway! And there are times, when things are hectic at home, he actually suggests it for dinner--and even helps me make it! How can you not love a man like that? What I originally thought was a ‘weakness’ has endeared him to me more than if he loved spaghetti!
"I will make weak things become strong unto them," promised the Lord. (Ether 12:27)
We don’t need perfect spouses. (In fact, none of us have them.) But marriage isn’t about marrying perfect, it is about becoming perfect.
We must make the choice to keep our eyes wide open after marriage—in appreciation. We can and should see the sacrifices and small gestures of devotion that surround us…both spoken and unspoken. And then we should verbally express gratitude for them.
A friend and college professor said something very wise. “I find that when I remember to praise my students and point out their gifts and make assignments clear, their work improves as they try to meet that standard. Criticism never seems to bring improvement, although it is easier to give and seems so necessary. It also crushes the spirit.”
He is so right. Good feelings escalate and enlarge. Criticism defeats and deflates their spirit…not just in the classroom but in life.
Mostly, though, criticism crushes us.
“He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil and have that which is evil restored unto you.” (Helaman 14:31)
When we do something good for our spouses--when we praise them and point out their special gifts--our marriage improves, positive feelings and works escalate, and the Spirit returns.
It’s a promise and eternal principle from God--
“For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored.” Alma 41:15