If you want to know how to be a better spouse and have a better marriage, it starts with learning how to be a better person.
Right now, my spouse is probably laughing her head off at the idea that I can tell you how to be a better person. She would be the first to tell you I have a long way to go in that department. And the idea that I could give you all the answers you need on how to be a better person in one short blog post is pretty laughable also.
But I can give you the basic building block for how to be a better person. Then, you can take those basic building blocks and build on them in a way that best suits you, your situation, and your need.
Here are the basic building block for how to be a better person:
This may seem like a strange place to start in becoming a better person, but the sooner you can learn to embrace grief the sooner you’ll be able to embrace life. Life will not always go the way you want. You will encounter losses in the form of unmet expectations, broken relationships, unwanted health problems, job loss, geographic moves, and unmet dreams.
Many people try to avoid grief. Some try to ignore it and act like they’re not grieving. Others try to minimize it and act like it’s not a big of deal. And some become stoic and try to push through it by shear force of will. These may seem like acts of strength, but they’re really acts of weakness.
Whether you like it or not, grief is a part of life. If you don’t learn to embrace it and work through it, grief will go underground and interfere with your outlook, your perceptions, your relationships, and in general…your life.
But, when you learn to embrace grief as a natural part of life and a normal part of growth, you will become a better person.
I believe most people are grateful for the good things that come their way, but many of us are not good at expressing that gratitude. Even though our parents taught us as children to say thank-you, too often we leave that habit behind with childhood.
You need to lavishly express gratitude. It’s good for you. It makes you aware of all the kindnesses that come your way. Say thank-you each time your spouse fixes a meal, a server brings you a refill, your child does something you ask, or someone holds a door or picks up something you dropped. This will help you realize how rich life really is.
Expressing gratitude is also good for those who need to hear it. It’s a great way to validate and encourage people, and everyone who draws a breath needs encouragement.
Lavishly express gratitude for things big and small. It will uplift both you and others.
So many people are closed off, loaded down, and walled in because they lack generosity. Giving time, talent, and treasure opens and frees us. This makes generosity it’s own reward.
Unless you’re Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Tim Cook, you’re probably not exorbitantly wealthy. You probably don’t have the ability to give large sums of money whenever you want. But you have something to give, and you can probably give more than you are. You could give a little more financially to a house of worship, non-profit, or other meaningful cause. And you could give in other ways. You could give time to someone who needs some company and a listening ear. You could take a skill you have and lend it to someone who needs help in that area. Maybe you could offer childcare to another couple who are at their wits end and need a break from their kids. You could give something you don’t use anymore to someone who needs it. The possibilities are endless.
Just know that when you enlarge your giving, you enlarge your life and become a better person.
Ok, if you’re not a religious or spiritual person, here’s where I might loose you, but hear me out for just a second. If all you do is learn to embrace grief, express gratitude, and enlarge giving, you will become a better person. But you we will still be missing something. You’ll be missing the reason and resource behind being a better person. You’ll be missing the bigger picture…like someone so engrossed in coloring a picture that they lose sight of the one who gave them the crayons and coloring book.
What does it mean to engage God? Well that will depend on where you are. For some, to engage God would start with being willing to openly consider the possibility of God, rather than decisively writing Him off. For others, it might start with endeavoring to learn more about God. And for others, engaging God would mean committing your life and ways to him. For me, it means believing that Jesus is the way to God and surrendering my life and direction to Him.
Wherever you may be when it comes to engaging God, I encourage you to pursue this, because this is the building block that gives meaning and depth to the others.
So, there you go. These are the basic building blocks to becoming a better person. But a word of warning…do not use these to tell your spouse how to be a better person. That’s probably not going to go over well. Instead, use them to work on yourself. And as you become a better person, you might be surprised at the positive impact it has on your spouse.
Do you want to be a better person? With which of these four building blocks do you have the most trouble? Choose one small thing you can do that would move you forward in that area, then commit to that from here on out.
Copyright © 2018 Bret Legg