Spouse Appreciation and Depreciation

Spouse appreciation graphicstock_Sl7PZibZgb copyThey say that once you drive a new car off the car dealership lot, it immediately starts to depreciate in value. Somehow, that doesn’t seem right. And yet, it seems like the same principle applies to the “depreciating value” of a spouse after the wedding day extravaganza is all over. After the “party is over, I’ve seen where spouse appreciation can slide downhill from there.

Where once he or she was highly valued, honored and appreciated by the other spouse before the wedding (and faults overlooked), it can be a a downhill slide from that “day forward.” Somehow, that doesn’t seem right either.

Spouse Appreciation and Depreciation

I’m reminded of something I read in Gary Thomas’s book, Devotions for a Sacred Marriage. He wrote about the downhill slide of depreciating vs. appreciating our marital partner:

“When I come into town for ‘Sacred Marriage’ seminars, I often get taken out to dinner beforehand. The organizers sometimes invite an engaged couple to join us. I always like this, particularly if I feel tired from traveling, because I know I can ask one question of the engaged woman that will reward me with a good rest. I know this because she will likely take at least ten minutes to answer. The question is this, ‘Tell me about your future husband.’

“The bride-to-be’s eyes light up. She starts to gush with enthusiastic and unqualified praise. ‘Oh, I so appreciate this about him, and he’s so good at that. He’s so wonderfully thoughtful in this area, and in that area he’s absolutely the best…’

The Downhill Change

“Then, later in the weekend, I’ll be with a group of wives and say, ‘Tell me about your husbands.’ I still get a rest. But I don’t find it nearly as pleasant. The chorus goes like this: ‘He doesn’t do this. He never does that. He wouldn’t know how to spell ‘spiritual leader,’ much less act like one.’

“I go back to my hotel room and ask myself, ‘Where is the bridge that leads a woman to stop defining a man by what he is and start defining him by what he is not?’

“The sad answer, unfortunately, is marriage. All our hopes expectations, dreams, and ideals get poured into this real relationship. Because we marry a sinner, each day brings a new and often legitimate disappointment. Before long, we stop seeing what attracted us and instead become consumed by what disappoints us. Whereas before marriage our eyes filled with the glory of the person we had chosen to spend our lives with, now our eyes get filled only with shortcomings.”

That is SO true! Steve and I have been there and done that and sadly have to own up to it. What happened to us is a lot like what Gary and Carrie Oliver wrote:

“It seemed as if one morning we woke up more aware of each other’s weaknesses than strengths —more aware of what each other did wrong than right and more negative and critical of each other, our kids, our friends, and even God.”

The Spouse Appreciation Slide

It’s almost like an overnight transition. One day you appreciate all the other did and the next, you depreciate most of what he or she could ever do!

And yes, I understand that you never really know a person until you live with them day in and day out AFTER you marry. Data is now showing that those who live together, rather than marrying, are working with some of the “unknown.” It is a tentative relationship, at best. But you can do the best you can, rather than thinking “love” will make a way. Oftentimes it doesn’t. That is because people don’t cooperate with all it takes to participate in loving and giving lavish grace, as Christ does.

And I realize that you can only go so long on the bio-chemical high, which “new love” pumps into you. Attitudes change after the “shine” of the relationship starts to wear off. Grace isn’t given as freely.

I also realize that some couples don’t take marriage as seriously as they should. They don’t take the time to truly look into learning more about each other. This would help them to make sure this person would make a good marriage partner. What a HUGE mistake that is!

Depreciation

Back to the car “depreciation” comparison. Recently, a friend of one of our sons purchased a car and ended up with a big case of buyers-remorse. Though forewarned, this friend didn’t spend the time finding out the history of this car. He didn’t have this car inspected before purchasing it. Instead, he got caught up in the emotionality of the moment. He judged it by how it looked and how it “seemed” to perform. I think they call that impulse-buying. And trust me when I say, that impulse has turned into a nightmare as the repair bills keep mounting. The appreciation for this great car spiraled into depreciation almost immediately.

And so it can be for those who marry on impulse. And many do. They forget that purchasing a car is a temporary deal. But marrying someone is supposed to last “for as long as we both shall live.” Let this be a warning to you if you aren’t married yet. It shouldn’t be something you do impulsively or without really going overboard in doing all that’s possible to make sure you’re marrying someone who will be a good marriage partner to you and be committed for life through all the ups and downs!

This is ESPECIALLY true for those who are Christ-followers. Why go down that path? Christ is NOT impulsive when it comes to committing Himself to making hasty promises.

Impulsive Marrying

And then even if you weren’t impulsive in marrying and did prayerfully and carefully commit to marrying your spouse, why allow yourself to get to the place where you focus more on weaknesses rather than on strengths? It causes more damage than anything else. What makes any of us think that by depreciating and picking away at our spouse, it will inspire him or her to change for the better in some way?

How about building upon a foundation of appreciating qualities you DO have in a spouse, rather than depreciating them for what they can’t be for you —especially when depreciating them causes more problems and works on our own psyche in a negative way, as well as theirs?

I love what Pam Farrel talked about in a Crosswalk.com article titled, Giving Grace to a Good Man.

They wrote:

“One day, a friend and I were comparing notes on the realities of being married to a hard-working guy. Her garage was packed with several antique cars all in various stages of repair. Meanwhile, the home Bill had built for our family still lacked floorboards and a few doors were missing molding. Our home needs just never felt as pressing as the crises and struggles of those in the church where we ministered.

“We both stopped mid-sentence and smiled. ‘But this inconvenience is a small price to pay for a marriage to a really great guy.’ Both our husbands are kind, compassionate, diligent leaders at church and in the community. They are terrific fathers, incredible lovers and providers. A few car parts or some undone household tasks were suddenly put in their proper perspective by the Spirit.”

And that’s true. It’s also true that our spouse may not be able to be all we want. He or she may have many social and character flaws, which we have a difficult time dealing with. But the reverse is true, as well. We probably aren’t all he or she wants in a spouse. Because we’re a sinner, we mess up a lot too. It’s just in different ways. And yet we want grace and to be appreciated, rather than depreciated.

Here’s some advice that Pam Farrel gives, which lines up scripturally, and is good to keep in mind:

“Hebrews 13:15 encourages us to ‘continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.‘ We will be better off if we make it a lifestyle to thank God and our man (or woman) even when it includes a little sacrifice.”

This advice also comes to life in a great testimonial written by Sharon Jaynes. It’s posted on the Growthtrac.com web site.

Please Read:

What Dr Phil Did Not Tell You

Starting today, ask God to help you appreciate rather than tear down and depreciate your spouse.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.(Hebrews 20:24 ESV)

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.(1 Peter 4:8-9 ESV)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

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Filed under: Marriage Blog

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Comments

3 responses to “Spouse Appreciation and Depreciation

  1. (SOUTH AFRICA) I’m involved with a separated man for four year now but he’s not planning to divorce. It’s not that I want him to do so but that was his choice long before I came into the picture. But since I’m here I happened to ask him when he is doing it. He tells me that the wife makes unreasonbale demands, but what is amazing is that they don’t have assets, such a house that would make them have a problems.

    But this has been going on for two years and he has engaged or rather proposed to me long before and we’ve had sex many times and now and sadly we are positive. What should I do? Yes I’m a born again child of God and I messed up big time and I’m having a problem letting go after I have found out. He hurts me so much. He is a born again Christian born too. I’m so scared if I will find someone to love me again.

    1. Phindi, Please don’t look into future “love” right now; let God help you with that in the future. But right now, you are involved with a married man –whether he was “separated” when you met him or not –no matter what picture he painted for you of his relationship with his wife when you first got involved with him. He is still tied to her in many ways, as you are now seeing, and you MUST not interfere with those ties. As Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let no man (or woman) separate.” You need to deal with your relationship with this man. It’s wrong and you know it. We ALL “mess up” sometimes. Sadly, this type of “messing up” is going to cause all kinds of complications as far as trying to break the ties you have made with this married man. As someone once said, “When we do wrong, we set in motion a cycle of complications.” Regretfully, you’re finding that to be true (and WILL find that to be true).

      I’m not sure what you mean when you write, “we are positive.” I’m not sure if you mean that you are pregnant or if you are HIV positive. But either way, this is a very difficult situation. There’s not much I can say except to encourage you NOT to heap more complications and more problems onto this situation by looking for another “messed up” or sinful way of dealing with it. Take this whole thing to God and ask Him to help you unravel it. He loves you and will help you, as you confess and turn away from doing further wrong. It’s not that He will take all of the consequences away, but He will walk with you through them and guide you as you “lean not onto your own understanding” and instead, “acknowledge Him” and “He will lead you in the way everlasting” as we’re told in Proverbs 3:5-6.

      Don’t continue having sex with this man –you’re contributing to his sinning, as well. He should know better too. But none-the-less, YOU don’t have to be a part of continuing in wrong behavior. He will have to answer to God for “hurting” you “so much” and also for having sex outside of marriage –especially since he is still married. All of this doesn’t speak well of his character. God help him! And if you are pregnant, he will pay a price for that (so will you and so will this precious child). Don’t consider an abortion because that will heap more sinful behavior on top of all of this. If there is a child growing in you, then do your part to participate with God in giving him or her the best life you can, with the Lord’s guidance.

      Phindi, I wish I had easier advice to give you. As your sister in Christ, I encourage you to look to God to help you to do what is right, from this day forward. It won’t be an easy road that you have paved for yourself, but hopefully, as you are prayerful and open and honest, you will make better choices in the future, which will help you to walk this difficult journey in a MUCH better way. If you have people judge you as this comes out into the open, so be it. Ask God to help you to do what is right, even so. He IS “a very present help in a time of need.” “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

  2. Hi. My husband and I are both remarried, we are both believers. My first marriage I honored and tried to save, but I was rejected by him, after 16 years. I admit that I have social phobia, but attend church, Bible studies and have 2 fairly good friendships.

    My husband is a hard worker, and has been a workaholic. In our 22 years of marriage, I would take our young daughter to his 2nd job at night to see him. I have always wanted him intimately. He has a habit of having girls who are just friends (not girl friends). We have discussions, and fights about it. I am a fairly mature Christian, but feel like a door mat. When I let things slide the problem got worse for me.

    He is trying to listen to God more and has some leadership roles. At home he tends to be on the computer and sports on TV. He is sad that I don’t like sports much. I sit by him during some of the games. I used to be the outdoor’s type, but he isn’t very much. I wheedle him to take me to the lake to kayak, and to the mountains in the winter.

    He told me that he would stop talking to other women. Most of his coworkers at the post office are women. He said he wants to bring them to Christ. I asked him to bring guys to Christ. One day in church, he said look there’s Dana, from work. I told her this was a good church, I’m glad she came. So he ran over and talked to her, then introduced me. He said, “don’t worry her, husband will come too.” Yesterday he told my 19 year old daughter and I, that he was taking us out to lunch. Right after service he said, “I’m asking Dana and Rob to lunch. I was feeling threatened, and said I don’t want to.” Eventually I walked over to them. He and she were talking. She has an A personality, a take charge person. Her husband seems very quiet. I looked at him, and he looked as uncomfortable, as I was. He just stared at my husband, as the two talked. I said a few things, but was rather left out. I was very angry (he didn’t ask them to lunch).

    He said he needed friends, and would ask Rob to a men’s class. I tried to explain that I couldn’t be her friend, as we didn’t have anything in common and that they would always talk shop. I told him that I couldn’t take it anymore, and that although I wouldn’t leave, the only way that I could stand the hurt was to detach myself emotionally. This is my only survival technique, to go back to work, and this is limiting as I have had concussions and am so shy. But if I don’t, I won’t survive mentally.

    P.S. We have many other couples over for dinner, but the guys are never as into sports etc. and my friend’s husbands don’t really match up with him. What can I do? I hurt often, and feel left behind. He is impulsive, but so kind to everyone out there and on his mail route. I’m told over and over how special he is, and how I really got a good one. I also told him we needed counseling, maybe from the pastor. He keeps himself from sexual impurity, and that is his defense.

    Sometimes I believe his maturity level is about 16 years of age. His brother was tested and had a 15 year old maturity level when he was 54 years old and took his life this year. I know that I’am complicated, but love to do things with him. We don’t fight until I feel threatened.