Two Words That Will Kill Your Marriage

A wise warning from Justin Davis (adapted):

There are so many things your marriage can survive. Miscommunication. Busy schedules. Conflict with your in-laws. Brokenness of the past.

But, there are two words that can absolutely shatter your marriage.

IF ONLY.

  • “If only my wife had sex with me more often.”
  • “If only my husband looked at me like my boss does.”
  • “If only we had kids.”
  • “If only we made more money.”
  • “If only we lived in a bigger house.”
  • “If only we would have dated longer.”
  • “If only she took care of herself like that girl at the gym.”
  • “If only my high school boyfriend and I would have stayed together.”
  • “If only we hadn’t had kids so young.”
  • “If only she understood me.”
  • “If only he listened to me.”
  • “If only I knew we were soul mates.”
  • “If only she cooked more/better.”
  • “If only he would do more around the house.”

“If only” causes you to focus on what isn’t rather than what is. “If only” allows your mind to fantasize about someone who isn’t your spouse. “If only” believes the lie that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. “If only” paralyzes you in the pursuit of your spouse. “If only” convinces you that a perfect marriage is completely up to the other person. “If only” destroys intimacy and leaves you in a desert of resentment. “If only” deceives you into believing that the best days of your marriage are behind and not ahead of you.

The best thing you can do for your marriage today? Remove “if only” from your marital vocabulary and address the problems of the present for what they are. You can’t change the past, but you can prevent “if only” lies from destroying your future.

Do you struggle with “if only” thoughts?

About Jason Hardin

Jason lives in southern Indiana with his wife Shelly and their three daughters. He works with the Charlestown Road church of Christ. Jason has written three books and a variety of workbooks. He's a fan of photography, baseball, mountains, wildlife, BBQ, banana pudding, and coffee. You can contact him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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God Notices the Little Things. Do We?

And [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." (Mark 12:41-44)

God notices and appreciates the little things. Little things are powerful. They can accumulate to have positive and negative impacts on our homes.

Little things affect our marriages. Most husband-wife relationships that have grown to be strained are not so because of one-time, massive, easily-identifiable "meteors" that suddenly and unexplainably fell out of the marital sky. Most of the significant problems we experience in our marriages can be attributed to the multiplication of the little things---a selfish choice here, rude disregard there. Attitudes produce actions. Actions evolve into habits. Habits undeniably impact life at home. Given enough time, the little things can snowball and cause serious damage at the very foundation of a marriage.

Children who are not taught to appreciate and participate in the little things are set by their parents on a trajectory of ingratitude and self-centeredness. Mom is not the maid. Dad is not the ATM. Children are not entitled to everything their hearts desire, nor should they be treated as immune to sacrifice or free from accountability. When the little things are taken for granted, erosion of the heart is experienced that can eventually lead to devastating consequences.