I am writing this post for wives specifically – but MUCH of it applies to single women who aren’t even dating yet, and for those who are in romantic relationships. The more you can study and learn this stuff now, the stronger your future marriage and relationship with Christ will be!
We as women have plenty of sources that fuel our discontent and make us feel we are “not getting all that we deserve” and that we are somehow being shortchanged. Some of the things that may fuel our lack of gratitude and lack of contentment seem really innocent. And, in fact, some things that may feed my discontent might not even be sinful in certain situations. But if I realize that something in particular is causing me to be negative, ungrateful, unhappy, unappreciative, critical and full of complaints about my husband, my marriage, my children or my life – I need to do some SERIOUS praying and may need to clean my spiritual house of some bad influences to get rid of sin.
“Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial.
“Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.
I Cor. 6:12
You are always welcome to make comments here – to share what didn’t work and what did work in your marriage and in your relationship with Christ. We are ALL learning and I believe God can use the older, wiser, more mature women to teach the younger what is good (Titus 2:2-5). Thank you for your insights and wisdom! We all appreciate it greatly! If you think of other things that have contributed to a spirit of discontentment in your heart, please share and help the rest of us carefully consider that issue in our own hearts.
SOME THINGS THAT CAN CREATE A SPIRIT OF DISCONTENTMENT IN MY HEART:
- watching romantic comedies/soap operas/reading romantic novels/chatting on FB/playing fantasy online games – when I realize that I am comparing my relationship and my husband with what I am reading or seeing and that I am feeling deprived, angry or jealous, or I begin fantasizing about being with a fictional or real man – THIS IS A SIN in my heart for me! I know this is going to sound a bit extreme. It will sound really strange compared to the messages of our culture that continually bait us to be discontent through advertising and the media so that we will buy more and more stuff. And there are probably some women who can read certain innocent romantic novels and be fine. When my marriage is going well – I actually can read and watch these kinds of things and be pretty unaffected. But when my marriage was not going so well, and I was feeling lonely and shut out of my husband’s heart – seeing the portrayal of a happy, intimate marriage sometimes stirred a lot of jealousy in my heart. Feeding on things that create discontentment in my heart about my marriage and my husband is a sin against my husband and against God. Of course, reading erotica or indulging in pornography is going to promote lust and discontent and a disconnect between a woman’s expectations/desires and reality. To me, it’s pretty obvious that I can’t go there – that would be sin under any circumstances in my book. There is clearly no benefit to my soul with that stuff. But even sometimes reading romantic novels that are rated G used to leave me wishing my husband acted more like the romantic protagonist in the book or movie and had me battling envy, jealousy or discontent. If you realize these kinds of thoughts are cropping up from your tv/computer/reading activities – those things have to go. Everything is permissible for me – but is this activity beneficial for building my relationship and intimacy with my husband and God, or do I feel restless, robbed, and short-changed? It’s my job to focus on the good in my life, the good in my marriage, the good things God has given to me (Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.) If I am focusing on what I don’t have, what I want and wish for but doesn’t belong to me right now, or on the bad – I am feeding a critical, negative, envious, jealous, ugly, prideful (thinking I deserve so much better), nasty spirit that will help to destroy my marriage, not build it up. The truth is that I am a sinner and I don’t actually deserve anything good from God. And yet, He lavishes good blessings on me daily that I don’t deserve at all. Our God is so good!
- advertising in the media. The sole purpose of advertising and commercials is to make me feel unhappy and discontent enough with what I currently have that I will go out and spend my money on that company’s product. NOT A SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY MINDSET. I try to not let my children watch commercials. They are IMMEDIATELY filled with discontent when they do.
- comparing my husband with another man – of course this usually meant comparing my husband’s weaknesses to another husband’s strengths – which is totally unfair to my husband!!! But it is VERY easy to do this. “Why can’t MY husband be handy with tools and remodeling like HERS? I wish MY husband could build me a dream home!” But the other husband has faults, too! And the other wife has to deal with a really messy, torn up house half the time. There are negatives to every strength. Every wonderful personality trait and strength has a flip negative side. It is up to me to focus on the good and be thankful for that.
- my husband’s sin. It doesn’t matter what sin it is. We are often SO SHOCKED when we realize that we are married to sinners! Here’s the thing – every man is a sinner! I know… it’s a huge disappointment. Our husbands WILL sin against us. And God calls on us to forgive and extend grace and mercy to them just as He has done for us. If I focus on my husband’s sin – I can feel victimized and powerless and feel like all the problems are completely HIS fault and HE needs to change. That gets me NOWHERE GOOD. I will then feel depressed and discontent and think that if only I had a different man, things would be so much better. But they are ALL sinners. And so am I. (If you are being abused or there is addiction or severe mental illness going on in your relationship – please get godly, experienced help ASAP!)
- being exhausted, sick, tired or hungry. Being physically or spiritually empty left me with a much more dire outlook. Sometimes just taking a nap or having something to eat can do wonders for our feelings of doom and gloom!
- negative circumstances. It’s so EASY to think that if only this hard thing were not in my life, I’d be happy. But now I see that my sovereign God has allowed each event, person and difficulty into my life for His reasons. I don’t have to be afraid. I can trust God in all circumstances to be working for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28). Circumstances don’t affect God-given peace and contentment.
- putting ANYTHING in my heart before God – idolatry or addictions.
- there were times that even reading books about a godly marriage created discontent in my heart – HUGE discontent! I would feel angry that my husband wasn’t acting the way the book said he should. I was angry that God hadn’t changed my husband to be what I knew God wanted him to be. I would try to MAKE things change to be what God so clearly wanted in our marriage! And I would bang my head against the wall because what I was doing DID NOT WORK. It made me and my husband miserable and drove him further away from me, and then I felt even more discontentment!
- praying for my husband to change. This made me feel discontent, too. It wasn’t until I began thanking God for my husband and asking God to change ME that I began to experience contentment and peace on a daily basis. My motives were selfish and prideful. God didn’t answer my prayers because I didn’t respect my husband’s God-given authority and I didn’t respect my husband. I also didn’t respect God’s design which made me come across as pretty arrogant and disrespectful toward the King of kings and Lord of lords.
- focusing on my husband’s faults. What I feed grows in my marriage. The more I look at the bad, the more bad I see. The more I focus on the good, the more good there is and eventually I can barely see the bad anymore.
- disrespecting my husband. I can’t feel content when I am being disrespectful. It is NOT possible!
- disrespecting God. If I think I know better than God and His Word doesn’t apply to me, I will not be content. God will not allow me to enjoy His rest and peace with that attitude!
- comparing my husband as he is right now with my lofty, perfectionistic, unrealistic expectations. When I used to do this, it was with a complete lack of understanding of godly masculinity and the differences between femininity and masculinity. I wanted my husband to be a lot more like me, more feminine. But now I THANK GOD and PRAISE GOD that my husband is not like me! I am SO glad to be married to a man with character and back bone who wouldn’t cave in to my demands for all those years. He knew I was wrong. I am thankful for my husband just the way he is, and I study to learn more about his perspective on life, and I appreciate his wisdom and how different it is from my own. Now I thank God and thank my husband for the way he is right now and for the amazing differences between us. I let all my expectations go. I am thankful for every little thing my husband does. If he doesn’t do something, it’s not a big deal. Since I didn’t have any expectations, anything he does is a precious gift. By the way – he does A LOT more for me now than he ever did when I had such massive expectations. Back then he felt like a failure with me so much of the time – “Why try to please her when she’s just going to criticize and complain?” Now he feels like a winner – and that motivates him to want to do more and more to delight me and see me smile.
- hearing confirmation from girlfriends that you are “right” and your husband is “wrong” when you complain about your man to them. “Your husband is a jerk. Don’t let him get away with that. He should be doing X. You deserve to do what you want to do. You should tell him off. I would kick him out of the house if he did that to me!” Being around other women who are disrespectful of their own husbands and disrespectful of YOUR husband WILL CREATE a spirit of discontentment, resentment, anger, bitterness and a feeling of being victimized in your heart and marriage. PLEASE choose your girlfriends wisely!!!
- keeping score. Wives sometimes like to add up all the things that we are doing for our husbands, homes and children and then add up what we think our husbands are doing and compare points. We will almost ALWAYS bias the point-scoring system toward our own favor. Marriage is not about counting every little point and making sure it all balances. It is about self-sacrifice, dying to self, living by the power of the Holy Spirit, gentleness, forgiveness, mercy, grace, self-control, selflessness, unconditional love, unconditional respect and honoring God with our words, actions and MOTIVES. And MOST OF ALL it is about GLORIFYING THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST! It’s really not about me at all!
- having wrong motives. If my motives are evil – it doesn’t matter what good thing I am trying to do, it doesn’t please God. Being close to God and intimate with Him means constantly asking Him to check my motives. I can hide some heinous sin from myself. And I have done just that many times. I need God’s blazing light and His Word to sweep through every little nook and corner of my soul, looking for rot, filth, gangrene and decay. It’s there. It’s extremely easy to become prideful and not notice. If I am looking at my husband like I am better than he is – God is NOT pleased. That’s how the Pharisees acted – and Jesus had more judgment and condemnation to say to them than to any other group of people. If I am looking down my nose at my man – I have this all wrong! If I think I am spiritually superior – I NEED TO GET ON MY KNEES AND REPENT IMMEDIATELY! If I think I am more pure, that I am more holy, that I am more loved or getting “better grades” with God – pride comes before a fall. I must quickly humble myself, really see the depth of my sin from God’s holy perspective, and ask God to cleanse me before I fall. I have done the falling thing before – a lot. It’s awful! It’s SO much better to humble myself and recognize my spiritual poverty before God and then He lifts me up!
- being greedy for material things or money. If I start focusing on wanting things, money and being greedy – that is idolatry. If I put making lots of money above God and worship money or nice things – I am breaking the 10 commandments and the first of the two greatest commandments given by Christ. I MUST love Jesus more than ANYTHING or ANYONE else. I must be willing to hold everything else loosely in my hands, allowing Him to decide what stays and what goes and when. If He is Lord, I must say, “Yes” to His plans, His desires, His priorities, His dreams, His purposes and I must be willing to let go of my own plans, desires, priorities, dreams, purposes and my own will.
This list is not exhaustive. What would you like to add?
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-12
Our God is sovereign over all things. He is able to abundantly provide more than all we could possibly think, ask or imagine. He has the power of the Holy Spirit pouring out like Niagra Falls right beside us – and we are afraid to ask for a thimbleful of His power. We have no idea the riches of heaven at our disposal when we are right with Christ and Spirit-filled.
God HATES it when His people grumble and complain about His provisions and leadership. Read Exodus to see how much He hates discontentment. Let’s use Israel’s example and learn from them! I pray that we might develop spirits of contentment, gratitude, praise, joy and peace by the power of God’s Spirit working in us!
His timing and provision are perfect. We can trust Him. We can wait patiently. His will is so much better than our own. Wait and see what God has in store – there are miracles around the corner for us if we have faith.
Help us to guard our hearts and minds by Your Spirit. Open our eyes to our sin. Convict us. Cleanse us by the blood of Jesus. We can’t clean ourselves up! Our own “righteousness” are like filthy, bloody rags in Your holy sight. Purify us. Let us mature and grow up in our faith to become strong, complete and able to rightly divide the Word of truth. Let us cling to You and to our husbands! Use us to build up our homes. Help us to be women with spirits of great contentment with what You have given to us. Help us to be joyful each day with the provisions You have given and not complain, whine or grumble against Your holy face!