I don’t need to describe how bitter cold it's been to my fellow Michiganders, but for those in warmer climates, let’s just suffice to say that the snow squeaks when you walk on it. Squeaky snow means it’s 14 degrees or below (it’s proven science…I googled it) and that is cold! I’ve lived in Michigan most of my life so I’m no wimp to the white stuff but when the temperature drops below freezing and dips into the teens and single digits, this northern girl heads for heated blankets and burrows inside, which is where I’ve been cooped up for the past couple weeks.
I’ve kept myself busy for the most part. I took our tree down the day after Christmas and packed away all the decorations which was a job in itself. I cleaned my house from top to bottom… and by that, I mean, I not only organized the basement storage area, I actually sifted through the stacks of totes containing random items that have no real value, but I somehow developed some weird attachment to over the years. I dusted, vacuumed, organized my pantry and threw away the box of graham crackers with a 2015 expiration date. I even wiped out the silverware tray that had enough crumbs to feed a small family.
My husband steered clear as I bulldozed my way through this cleaning frenzy, but I did stop long enough to enjoy the bluebirds flitting underneath the pine tree and watched deer meander along the trails in our back yard. And lest you think I ignored my family, I can assure you we’ve had some riveting Uno tournaments and enjoyed a few Netflix movies too. All of this had me feeling so accomplished and content until I sat down and scrolled through my social media accounts.
My thumb moved the screen on my phone while I double clicked on cute pictures and clever captions. I “liked” a photo of a woman showing off the new book she wrote and another of a young mom serving a delicious meal as her darling kids smiled back. I admired vacation pictures posted by friends on a beach and stared at beautiful homes that were magazine worthy and then, all of a sudden, I no longer felt content, much less accomplished.
I glanced up from my screen and looked around my home, which was lovely a few hours ago, but had abruptly lost its shine. How did that happen so quickly? I should know better. I am a middle-aged woman, not a middle school girl for cryin’ out loud! I “know” I have plenty to be thankful for but as quick as it took to tap on a picture, my heart swung from cherishing to comparing and a feeling of restless discontent began to stir.
Whether it’s our home or husband, comparing what we have to others decreases the value of our blessings and sets off a destructive, internal chain reaction. We can become resentful, jealous and downright bitter, which causes our marriage to feel less than fulfilling. Thankfully, the reverse is also true. Cherishing our spouse leads to greater levels of acceptance and gratitude while deepening intimacy. This action might not have an affect on the cold temperatures outside, but it can turn up the heat in our marriage and make staying inside not so bad after all ;)
“Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night.” Ecclesiastes 4:11 - The Message