As a pastor, I have found a common link that surrounds the need for marriage counseling, often times revolves around this simple problem: Too much focus on the small, petty, annoyances that come with our spouse. Even in Christian marriage, bitterness comes when we do not view our spouse with gracious, forgiving eyes, but with harsh expectations. If this describes you or someone you are trying to counsel, take heart, for I have discovered a wonderful antidote when especially young married couples lose sight of the gratefulness all Christians should have in the joy of Christian marriage and instead try to nitpick their spouse with an ungrateful heart.
“Go visit widows and widowers in your church and ask them about their spouse. Specifically what they loved about them most and what they miss about them now that they are gone.”
God quickly and uniquely brings perspective through the words of widows. Our marriages are no exception. Widows speak as those who no longer get to see their spouse, no longer get to enjoy their company, and no longer are able to share their life with them. Hearing this wise perspective almost always helps cut through any petty grievances in one’s marriage and allows them to focus on the things that really matter. As a result, I have watched this helpful perspective cause husbands and wives grow to appreciate their spouses more.
As many of us are guilty of making “mountains out of mole hills” in our marriages, we need a perspective jolt for our marriages and visiting a widow or widower who no longer has their spouse often provides that jolt. I also advise engaged couples to go and talk to widows hoping this perspective becomes great preparation for marriage and helps them avoid the common petty pitfalls in the early years of marriage that lead to ungratefulness.
I think the old saying is true, “You don’t know what you got, until it is gone.” Because of this, I dare say, there is no one better in the church to help us grow in gratefulness for the spouse God has bless us with and that we still have to enjoy, other than widows.