*By Olivia Duffus
I want to start this by saying that I understand discontentment is not something easily dealt with. In my experience, there’s a lot of frustration, hopelessness, and disappointment that comes with it. When it takes root, it grows deep quickly. It is draining and consuming.
I’ve also learned that comparison cultivates discontentment. Have you ever thought about that? I hadn’t until recently, and I believe it is so vital for us to understand this relationship so we can sever it.
We are inundated with opportunities to compare every part of our lives to everyone else’s. Social media, television, pop culture, the list goes on. You see an adorable couple on Instagram who always cooks together, and you start to wish your marriage was more like that. You see a couple on TV who laughs together all the time, and you wish your marriage was like that.
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Or you wish your husband was more like that. And instead of letting these images push you to strengthen your marriage or develop those areas, you grow discontent. Towards marriage, towards your husband. Now, this doesn’t happen overnight, most of it happens subconsciously, and social media isn’t the only thing to blame here.
So, to the wife who is discontent? This is what I want you to do.
Stop comparing your marriage and your husband to other marriages or other husbands. Stop wishing your husband was more like the lead guy on your favorite TV show, or that your marriage looked just like your favorite Instagram blogger’s marriage.
You’re not Jim and Pam. You’re not Leslie and Ben. You’re not Chip and Joanna. You’re not (insert favorite TV/movie/real life couple).
Side note: In case you forgot, those first two relationships, while dreamy, were entirely scripted. They’re not real. Now, Chip and Joanna are completely real, and completely adorable. But still, stop comparing. They’re not you.
There have been times when, in the midst of an argument, Nate has said something along the lines of, “Every other wife in the world would want that!” And I’ll say, “Well I’m not every other wife in the world and you should have married them if that’s what you want!!!”
Not a shining moment for either of us, I know.
I use that example to illustrate that when we expect certain attitudes, actions, or responses from our spouse because that’s how TV or Instagram husbands act, we are diminishing the unique and wonderful man that God gave us. This is not the first time we’ve said this, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but your husband is a gift from God to you. To you, and only you. And God didn’t force you to marry him, did He?
I mean, let’s be real. You married your husband because YOU STINKIN LOVE HIM. He’s your best friend. He gets you. He cares for you. He leads you. You’re the one who said YES when he asked you to marry him.
“But things are different now,” you say. “He’s changed.”
Yeah, I’ve said it too. BUT STOP. I mean really stop. Maybe he has changed, but I guarantee you he’s not the only one. Take a second and ask yourself how you’ve changed. Have you become less gracious, less forgiving, more nagging, or more bitter?
I cannot blame social media entirely for this comparison crisis that we face, but I’m emphasizing it because it is a real influence. I spend hours (yes, hours) each week scrolling through Instagram, envying couples I literally do not even know. And then, when my own marriage doesn’t seem as cute or romantic or silly as everyone else’s, I become discontent.
When I start comparing my marriage and husband to those on Instagram or even movies, I choose to desire what the world has more than what God has graciously given me. I choose to forget all the things I love about my husband and focus on how we’re not like the people I admire. (Notice that I have not once said that all the relationships you see on social media are fake. That’s not the point here. The point is that you’re letting their reality hurt your marriage.)
marriage blog for discontent wives
So, what now?
If you’re finding yourself in a place of discontentment towards your husband, I would first challenge you to take a good look into your heart. Have you been spending time with your First Love, or have you been spending more time on Netflix or social media? Do you thank Him for the good gifts He’s given you? Are you trying to find your ultimate contentment someplace other than Him? Run back to your First Love and confess your heart.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Be content with such things as you have, for He himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Next, take a break. Step back from social media for a week or so (yes, you can do it). When you find yourself heading towards Instagram, go to Christ instead. Soak in His truths.
Lastly, remember. Remember the good things about your marriage and your husband. Get a notebook and write them down. The day met, your first date, your first kiss, when you knew you loved him. What you admire about him, what’s hot about him, what adventures you want to have with him. What makes your relationship different than anyone else’s. Write those things down. Fall in love again. I think you’ll see your heart begin to soften.
Even if discontentment in marriage isn’t something that you struggle with, these steps are worth practicing! Everyone can use social media breaks and more time with Jesus. 😉 Your marriage will benefit, believe me.
Sister, discontentment does not disappear on its own. It is rooted deep, and only Christ can really pull that sucker out. So let Him. Let go of your pride, stop filling your heart and mind with things that turn you from your husband, and remember what the Lord has given you. He is so good and faithful.
I’m praying for you to be satisfied in our Savior and abundantly thankful for your man.