Marriage Part III: Contentment

“Anne, you’re going to be mad.”

“Oh…. Is something broken?” I was in the shower, but the rest of the family was in the kitchen playing with the new “soft” pellet gun we’d given to Andrew for his 20th birthday. Target shooting. I had suggested that the basement hallway might be a better spot, but Tim assured me it was a soft gun, and nothing would happen. He’d even tried shooting an apple, William Tell style, from Andrew’s head. Now, he informed me, one of the children had cracked a window.

So I realized I had a choice. I could be mad. Or I could be grateful that I have a husband who still loves to be a kid at times and thoroughly enjoys playing with his children. Since I was in the shower and not on the spot, I had the luxury of time to think, and I made the choice to be content rather than angry.

In teaching our current young couples’ Sunday School class, Tim and I have given a fair amount of thought to what makes a good marriage. Unfortunately, by this time in our lives, we’ve seen marriages that fell apart, or ones that have hung on, but with no joy. Some people spend their lives regretting that they married their spouse. Others are unsatisfied, thinking, “If only…” Contentment with one another is one of the things we believe is key to a strong marriage.

What does a discontented wife look like? She is a woman who continually finds fault with her husband for one thing or another. Her sour attitude will affect her words and actions. She may complain directly to him or to her friends. Proverbs has hard words for a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife. We’re told it’s better to live on a corner of a roof or even in a desert, than with such a woman. (Prov. 21:9, 19, 25:24) And a quarrelsome wife is compared to a constant dripping on a rainy day. (Prov. 27:15) Whew! That’s not the kind of woman I want to be!

The remedy for discontent is thankfulness and gratitude. My pastor, Tim Bayly, wrote a powerful piece on gratitude, pointing out our serious sin when we fail to be thankful for all the Lord has given us. Ladies, when you are tempted to be discontent with your husband, stop and remember all his good attributes. Thank the Lord for him. Show respect for him by honoring him with words and actions. Use your words and your hands to build your house, not destroy it.

Pro. 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Sometimes, because my husband is easy to love and respect, to be content with and thankful for, I feel inadequate giving counsel to women in different situations. I know many women with difficult marriages where my easy advice can sound trite. Even if you find yourself in such a marriage, don’t make yourself a discontented nag. Instead, turn your concerns over to the Lord in prayer. And focus your thoughts on all the good characteristics of your husband.

Husbands, too, need to be content with their wives. Since I am not a husband, nor do I want to teach men, I will only repeat a few things that I have heard Tim say many times to men. Men ought to love their wives by being content with them in all way. One seemingly superficial thing that concerns most of us women is how we look. A loving husband will let his wife know that to him she is the most beautiful woman he can imagine, even if she is nine months pregnant. (Especially then!) Tim’s name for me is “Beautiful,” and though I am not, it gives me joy to hear him call me that.

A husband who is contented with his wife will not be looking at other women. Tim likes to quote this passage from Proverbs:

Pr 5:19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

I love what Matthew Henry has to say about this passage:

Let him that is married take delight in his wife, and let him be very fond of her, not only because she is the wife that he himself has chosen and he ought to be pleased with his own choice, but because she is the wife that God in his providence appointed for him and he ought much more to be pleased with the divine appointment, pleased with her because she is his own. Let thy fountain be blessed (Pr 5:18); think thyself very happy in her, look upon her as a blessed wife, let her have thy blessing, pray daily for her, and then rejoice with her. Those comforts we are likely to have joy of that are sanctified to us by prayer and the blessing of God. It is not only allowed us, but commanded us, to be pleasant with our relations; and it particularly becomes yoke-fellows to rejoice together and in each other. Mutual delight is the bond of mutual fidelity. It is not only taken for granted that the bridegroom rejoices over his bride (Isa 62:5), but given for law. Ec 9:9, Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of thy life. Those take not their comforts where God has appointed who are jovial and merry with their companions abroad, but sour and morose with their families at home. – Matthew Henry

If you want a beautiful marriage, work at being thankful to the Lord for the one He has given you. Contentment will reap rewards of deep satisfaction, joy, and an ever-growing love for one another.


mrsd said…
Great thoughts! I'd probably gotten mad, but the next time a window gets cracked, I'll remember your post. :)
Anonymous said…
Thanks Anne. I needed to hear this, especially today. I just wish I would have read it earlier though.

Anne said…
Thanks, Maryanne and MrsD!
And, I'm pretty certain I would have shrieked if I had been in the kitchen at the time the window cracked. :)
rebedca nugent said…
thank you, anne. that was much needed.


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