“Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”
Contentment is a subject that I do not necessarily feel qualified to write about as it is something that I struggle to hold onto. I am a stay-at-home mom to a four and two year old. Our house is usually chaotic with their constant noise and activity. As an introvert, it can easily become trying and tiresome just getting through the day.
My husband arrives home just in time for me to be ready to bust through the front door searching for the quiet my insides are screaming for. Before his shoes are even off, I will have already started venting about the day without ever stopping to ask about his. It is a problem that I readily admit to and know it needs changed.
Which brings me back to this idea of contentment being a key ingredient in a happy, healthy marriage. No one wants to be married to someone who is constantly finding the next problem to focus on.
Think about when your head hits the pillow at night. What is the conversation running through your mind? Where is your focus? It is easy to get sucked into the frustration of spilled milk and two hour long nap fights. It is easy to let the never ending housework to overwhelm you. It takes work to take charge of your thoughts and direct them intentionally to positive things to dwell on.
I have been trying a new tactic over the last several weeks. The Bible gives us many answers to our quest for contentment. One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:8.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.”
This serves as a great measuring stick for where our thoughts should dwell. When I start to feel my thoughts slipping toward frustration and worries I remind myself of this scripture and try to remove any thoughts that do not line up with this standard. And you know what? It is working!
As I have gotten older, I have found that there is good to our stages in life. Just starting out as an adult I hated the unsettledness that life brought. I was trying to get established in life. I was not where I wanted to be both from a professional standpoint, nor a home life one. I wanted to be married, settled and focused on my next stage in life. But, then I remember the freedom! Nothing tied me down. I could go to the gym, stay out late, sleep in, travel… basically live life according to my whims.
Once I got married, I wanted to have children. It was difficult to find contentment in never ending fertility treatment and failure. Looking back, I regret not taking more time to simply enjoy my husband. Time for the two of us is scarce now and often I feel like he only gets what is left of my energy at the end of the day instead of my full focus.
The stage I am at is now a mom to small children. Unlike the previous two, I am trying to focus more on enjoying the good. There are plenty of frustrations and worries at this point in life, but so much good, too! The giggles and snuggles and privilege of getting to view life through the eyes of a small child are all amazing to experience. I get to teach them everything they need in life. Some of those lessons are tedious, but then we get a basketball out or lace up our running shoes and I get to show them a lot of fun things to do as well.
I challenge you to find what the good that comes with whatever stage of life you are presently living in. Take those thoughts captive and store them in a special place in your mind. When you find your thoughts veering toward discontent pull out your measuring stick. Ask yourself, “Are these thoughts true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy?” If the answer is, “No.” replace them with ones that are.
At first, it is a difficult habit to form, but it is worth the effort! The contentment gained spills over into relationships. It brings happiness on both an individual and marital aspects. I find that I feel more connected to my husband and children when I free myself from the entrapment of negative thoughts.
If there are tools that have helped you experience more contentment, please feel free to share! The more we can encourage each other, the better it is for us all!