When you live together day after day, it seems to be a natural progression (or regression) to notice that, which you don’t appreciate about each other, rather than what you do. Somehow the negatives grab our attention to the point where they erase the positives from our minds completely. Instead of appreciating the positives in each other, we end up depreciating each other in negative ways.
And this is truly sad. If we looked beyond the blinding negatives, we’d probably see a lot of positives hidden away, deserving of our recognition.
Appreciating, Hoping, and Believing
We’re told in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:7, that love “believes all things, hopes all things.“ That means that we are to actively look for the good. We are to also believe that God will bring out the best in the situations we find ourselves in with those we love. That’s especially true within our marriages. Even that, which is negative can be redeemed in some way when we are participating with God.
Last week we shared from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick on leading with your heart and will. We are not to follow our feelings, which can easily be deceived. We had a great response from many that hadn’t thought of love in that way.
We’re going to share one more principle, knowing it will help many in their marriages. For those of you that CAN purchase the book, we highly recommend it. (Those of you in the U.S. can go through the provided link above to do so. The bonus is that Amazon gives a portion of their profits for purchases made through this link. We use it to support this ministry.) There are many other principles that we believe you would benefit from implementing in your marriage.
The Appreciation Room
The portion of the book we’d like to share with you at this time, reads:
“In the deep and private corridors of your heart, there is a room. It’s called the Appreciation Room. It’s where your thoughts go when you encounter positive and encouraging things about your spouse. And every so often, you enjoy visiting this special place.
“On the walls are written kind words and phases describing the good attributes of your mate. These may include characteristics like ‘honest’ and ‘intelligent,’ or phrases like ‘diligent worker,’ ‘wonderful cook,’ or ‘beautiful eyes.’ They are things you’ve discovered about your husband or wife that have embedded themselves in your memory. When you think about these things, your appreciation for your spouse begins to increase. In fact, the more time you spend meditating on these positive attributes, the more grateful you are for your mate.
“Most things in the Appreciation Room were likely written in the initial stages of your relationship. You could summarize them as things you liked and respected about your loved one. They were true, honorable, and good. And you spent a great deal of time dwelling on them in your room …before you were married. But you may have found that you don’t visit this special room as often as you once did. That’s because there is another competing room nearby.
Appreciating VS Depreciating
“Down another darker corridor of your heart lies the Depreciation Room, and unfortunately you visit there as well. On its walls are written the things that bother and irritate you about your spouse. These things were placed there out of frustration, hurt feelings, and the disappointment of unmet expectations. This room is lined with the weaknesses and failures of your husband or wife. Their bad habits, hurtful words, and poor decisions are written in large letters that cover the walls from one end to the other.
“If you stay in this room long enough, you get depressed and start expressing things like, ‘My wife is so selfish.’ Or you say, ‘My husband can be such a jerk.’ Or maybe, ‘I think I married the wrong person.’
“Some people write very hateful things in this room, where tell-off statements are rehearsed for the next argument. Emotional injuries fester here, adding more scathing remarks to the walls. It’s where ammunition is kept for the next big fight and bitterness is allowed to spread like a disease. People fall out of love here.
“But know this. Spending time in the Depreciation Room kills marriages. Divorces are plotted in this room and violent plans are schemed. The more time you spend in this place, the more your heart devalues your spouse. It begins the moment you walk in the door, and your care for them lessens with every second that ticks by.
“You may say, ‘But these things are true!‘ Yes, but so are the things in the Appreciation Room. Everyone fails and has areas that need growth. Everyone has unresolved issues, hurts, and personal baggage. This is a sad aspect of being human. We have all sinned. but we have this unfortunate tendency to downplay our own negative attributes while putting our partner’s failures under a negative glass.
“Let’s get down to the real issue here. Love knows about the Depreciation Room and does not live in denial that it exists. But love chooses not to live there. You must decide to stop running to this room and lingering there after every frustrating event in your relationship. It does you no good and drains the joy out of your marriage.”
As the authors say, it is important to “start thinking differently” and to let “love lead your thoughts and your focus.” They have more to say on this subject, as well as a “Love Dare” to point you to action. But we hope that if you can’t obtain the book for whatever reason, you will at least prayerfully consider what they have written to this point.
We hope you will ask the Lord to help you to be someone who “believes all things, and hopes all things.“ If you have a difficult marriage, where your “partner” does not return your actions of love, ask the Lord to show you how to lead in love and do what He shows you. That doesn’t mean that you excuse, enable, or overlook inappropriate behavior, but make sure that whatever you do is motivated by the love that comes from God.
Turn from depreciating and begin, with intentionality, to look for what you can appreciate in your mate that will encourage him or her.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds“ (Hebrews 10:23-24).
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virt
ues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity“ (Colossians 3:12-14).
Cindy and Steve Wright
We have a related article that we encourage you to read that can help you further on this issue:
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Filed under: Marriage Messages