Do you ever feel unappreciated in your marriage?
Without sounding haughty (even though I am bragging a little), I pretty much packed and unpacked our entire house single handily. Jason’s work schedule is crazy, and so he hasn’t been around to help. Also, he is spending most of his pre and post work time at our old home fixing it up for closing. (Remember our lovely wall gallery?! Well, that and several other things have left a plethora of nail holes to fill and walls to repaint.) Whenever Jason is home, he is playing with the children or tending to our beastly yard.
What I’m desperately craving is for my husband to tell me, “Thank you.” I want him to say out loud that he couldn’t have made this move without me, and share how impressed he is I had time to do it and tend to the children. I’m seeking his appreciation, respect, and admiration. And while inwardly I know he feels those things, the fact he hasn’t voiced them is on my nerves. Finally, after weeks of grumpiness, the words came flying out of my mouth:
I don’t feel appreciated!
But as they were coming out, it was as if God gave me a peek into Jason’s heart. During this hectic month, I have not once thanked him. He completed all the paperwork to get our finances ready for closing; he is working full time at an exhausting job, and spending his time and talent to fix up our old house so that we represent Christ well in the transaction.
My self-centeredness blinded me to my husband’s contributions.
All I could focus on was the work I have accomplished and how my husband wasn’t celebrating me the way I deserved. But, I never once thought about the reality that what I am craving from my husband, he is also craving from me. He wants understanding and appreciation, and he has received nothing but a snippy and pity-party wife who can’t think past herself. As I wrestled with this reality, the Lord brought to mind two important truths.
1. When I’m living for the praise of others, I will always end up disappointed.
I twisted Scripture, hanging my right to be angry on Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her saying, ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.'” When I take that verse out of context, it makes it seem like my husband should be telling me how I surpass every other woman. However, the Proverbs 31 woman does the right thing for the right reason, not for the appreciation of others. Her husband rightfully praises her because she isn’t seeking after his appreciation.
Why am I serving my family and making this house a home? Is it for recognition from my husband or because it is the right thing to do? Am I working hard for the Lord or self-glory? I don’t often like to think about my motives because they aren’t always honorable, but the answers were easy to see because of how unappreciated I felt. I have been working hard, but my attitude showed I was working for men and not God (see Colossians 3:23-24). If that is my motivation, I will always be disappointed. Instead, I need to be more like Paul and less like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.
“We were not looking for praise from people…” ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:6
“For they loved the praise of men more than praise from God.” ~ John 12:43
2. When my focus is on being thanked, I won’t be thanking others.
When I long for praise, it is almost impossible to praise others, including God. And yet, the opposite is also true, if I focus my mind and heart on worshiping God and appreciating my husband, I will not concern myself with whether or not my husband is thanking me. My struggle for appreciation ceases when I take on an eternal mindset. I can play the victim card or I can sincerely give to others what I am seeking.
Do to others what you would have them do to you. ~ Luke 6:31
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. ~ Hebrews 3:13
I’m thankful for a patient husband and for a loving God who convicts without condemnation. I pray that every day I will be a better wife than the day before. Today, I know where to begin… making it less about me!
How do you act when you don’t feel appreciated?