Haunted by the “If Only’s” In Your Marriage?

Adobe stock Sad and upset woman deep in thought if only's“If only”… Those are two little words that can leave a huge dent in your marriage. Are you haunted by these two words? Are the if only’s the first ones that come to mind when your spouse fails you in some way?

Maybe your spouse forgot to do something that’s very important to you. Perhaps it’s something you’ve told them about time and time again. Maybe they didn’t take the hint of what you wanted for your birthday and got you something…dare I say it…practical? Or worse, maybe they forgot it all together! Maybe they aren’t as thoughtful as your best friend’s husband. Are they forgetting to open the door or stand when you get up from the table?

Maybe…just maybe, the “if only” question is being asked of the wrong person.

Maybe we should ask ourselves the “if only” questions…



You read that right.

If Only’s Can Haunt You

I’ve heard it said that when one spouse dies the “if only” questions often haunt the spouse left behind.

• If only I hadn’t been so critical.
• If only I had said I love you more.
Also, if only I had not taken the things they did right for granted.
• If only I had been more of an encourager.
• If only I had celebrated all the little moments and not made such a fuss over the big ones messed up.
And, if only I had been a better wife/husband.

You get the idea.

“If only”–two very powerful words that can do great harm or great good in a marriage depending on who it is you’re focusing.

But your spouse is still very much alive and you want to change. How do we turn the tables on these two words and use them for the good of our marriage?

Ask yourself the “What if” questions…

What if I treated my spouse today as if it were our last day together?
What if I remembered that it’s more important to give than to receive?
 And what if I realized that my spouse isn’t like my girl or guy friends–and they never will be–and this is a good thing?
 What if I cherished every small act of kindness done for me, even if it’s not what I’d hoped for, or how I wished it was done?
• What if I made the most of all the things they do right and minimize the mistakes they make.
And what if I maximized my mistakes and sought to grow and change with the same energy and zeal I used to go after theirs?
• What if I made today the best day of our marriage?

How do you think these questions would change your today…your tomorrow…and the rest of your lives together?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.(Ephesians 5:15-17)

Debi Walter wrote this blog. She is a wonderful friend of ours, and a wonderful friend of this ministry. She and her husband Tom have a great web site at Theromanticvineyard.com that we hope you will visit often.

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2 responses to “Haunted by the “If Only’s” In Your Marriage?

  1. The longer I’m married the more ‘if only’ & regrets I have. My occupation is steady work & good benefits but doesn’t pay much. We’ve always struggled financially. I look back knowing I should have done something else. Every year ticks by, I see this more.

    I guess this is a mid-life crisis. We had to sell my wife’s nice car because we couldn’t afford it. This weekend we drove by the dealership that bought it from us & she said ‘that’s where I turned my car in.’ That was 4 years ago. I really feel bad for that. She drove an old truck I had for 5 or 6 months until we found something I could afford.

    I see other couples doing much better than us; we’ve always scraped by. I see others taking cruises, big vacations, early retirement, nice houses & cars, condo on the beach. We have a ‘nice’ house, being raised poor, our house is nice, compared to others with granite & marble, in-ground pool, it’s not. So, ‘if only’ I had another occupation, made more money,

  2. –If only my wife hadn’t deceived me into thinking she wanted sex every bit as much as I did.

    –If only I hadn’t “saved myself” for my bride only to find it wasn’t worth the wait.

    –If only I had known that 23 years later I’d be a broken, lonely, unfulfilled and utterly defeated/demoralized failure.

    I could go on and on, but who really cares? And who on here can do anything at all about it? After praying for 22 1/2 years for the situation to improve and seeing NO results, l’ve given up hope and am just doing my best to accept that I will most likely die this way. Lonely and unfulfilled. And wondering what else I could have done to remedy it besides counseling (secular and pastoral), medication, helping with the housework (SUCH a turn on that is) reading literally hundreds or maybe thousands of books, articles, “communicating,” etc etc etc….