A few weeks ago, my friend, Hannah posted on Twitter about a book she had just downloaded to her Kindle. It’s called What’s It Like To Be Married To Me?: And Other Dangerous Questions and it’s written by Linda Dillow. Hannah was posting about it because, for a limited time, the book was free on Amazon. I love reading and I’m addicted to downloading books to my Kindle, especially free ones! So I promptly grabbed my Kindle and searched for the book. The title kinda made me nervous, but I love reading books about self-improvement and I’m always looking for ways to become a better wife, friend, and person in general so I took the plunge and clicked “buy.”
It took me a few days to actually start reading the book once I bought it. To be honest, I really didn’t want to explore what it’s like to be married to me. Lately, I feel like it probably hasn’t been much of a picnic. I try to be a good wife: make sure there’s food in the house, cook a few times throughout the week, make sure we have clean clothes and that the house is somewhat picked up, give Brandon a back rub if he’s had a long day at work…the usual. It’s not so much my actions that I was afraid to examine, but my attitude. Complaining about the gravel I have to dig out of my running shoes after every run because our front driveway has been a pile of chunked up concrete for the last 6 months. Taking every opportunity to remind Brandon that I wish we could invite friends over to hang out but we can’t because we don’t have room – we don’t even have a couch for them to sit on. Whining that I’ll cook more often when we have more than 2 feet of counter space. Little digs that I bring up in converation and say with a little laugh like I’m joking, but deep down I’m trying to get the point across that I’m getting fed up with our 400-sq ft, constantly under construction living space. I really have no right to complain because I knew when I married Brandon that we’d be living under construction for awhile. Sure, it may be taking longer than either of us expected, but that’s just part of life, and we pledged to honor each other for better or worse. Complaining is not a form of honoring; in fact, it’s rather dishonoring.
With this knowledge in the back of my head, I prepared to read the opening chapters of my new book with quite a bit of nervousness. I quickly found out that my nervousness was justified. I made it to chapter 2 before I got hit by a freight train of conviction. Linda listed a few verses that show how against grumbling and complaining God is. Check this one out: “And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.” 1 Corintians 10:10. I had to look around to make sure that destroying angel wasn’t coming for me. The next one was even better. “It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarellsome wife in a lovely home.” Proverbs 25:24 NLT. Lucky Brandon gets a quarrelsome wife AND a 400-sq ft daylight basement…it’s WAY nicer than an attic but I still started to feel sorry for him. Linda made me feel a bit better becasue she was writing from experience. At least I’m not the only complaining wife in the world, and if she can turn her gripes into praise, so can I!
Halfway through chapter 2, Linda showed me how. She talked about a pastor who wanted to help his church weed the complaining out of their lives. He did this by giving them a 21-Day No Complaint Challenge during which they were instructed to wear a purple bracelet that said “A compaint free world.” Every time they complained, they were to move the bracelet from one wrist to the other. The point of this exercise is that moving the bracelet makes you aware of when you camplain so that you can more easily catch yourself before a complaint leaves your lips.Linda decided to take this challenge for herself. It blew me away when I read, “The average person who takes the No-Complaint Challenge needs four to eight months to string together twenty-one gripe-free days.” Seriously!!?? It’s depressing, but I totally believe it. I don’t think I can even go one day without griping. Even as I write this, I’m super tempted to throw my laptop across the room. My laptop died, so I’m borrowing my grandma’s Acer, which is suuuuper slow, has a tiny keyboard, and the screen is so small that I can’t even see everything I’m writing. I don’t even want to think about my drive to work later today. I’m sure that in the 15 minutes it takes to get to work, I’ll have at least 15 complaints.
Because griping is so obviously a big part of my life and because I don’t want Brandon to decide he’d rather live in a attic than with me, I decided to go onto Linda’s website and order a Gripes Be Gone bracelet for myself. It came in the mail this week, and can I say that I was a bit disappointed? Now that I have it, I have no excuse not to take the challenge, and let me tell you, it’s not something I’m looking forward to. It’s gonna be hard. There’s something satisfying about complaining; about letting others know that I’m not happy with the way things are. But really, complaining is selfish and lazy. If I’m not happy with something, change it! And if I can’t change it, well, does it really help to complain? Nope! So I’m gonna take the No-Complaint Challenge and pray like crazy that I can do it because I know that it will only make my life, marriage, and relationships a whole lot better! I’d tell you to check in with me and see how I’m doing with this challenge so that I have some accountability, but I don’t really want accountability ’cause that means I have to do it for reals. SO how about I don’t ask but you just check in with me anyway? Ok? Good!
This is my Gripes Be Gone Bracelet.
You can get your own Gripes Be Gone bracelet at http://www.lindadillow.org/?page_id=528. If you;’re interested in Linda’s book, What’s It Like To Be Married To Me?: And Other Dangerous Questions, which I highly recommend, whether you’re married or hope to get married in the future, you can find it on Amazon. All quotes and Bible verses from What’s It Like To Be Married To Me: And Other Dangerous Questions by Linda Dillow Published by David C Cook 2011.