Focusing on what “really is” isn’t always easy. Sometimes our view gets obstructed. Or sometimes what we think we see, we actually don’t. That became all the clearer for me after having gone through an eye exam recently. When asked the question, “Which is clearer —this or that?” you’d think it would be an easy question to answer as they flip a few different screens in front of you. But sometimes, it all goes by so fast, or your eyes play tricks on you so you can become confused on what you think you see.
I think it’s the same way with our focus, as it pertains to our perception of what our spouse did or didn’t do sometimes. For various reasons we often see more into the whole scenario than there is in actuality. Sometimes we don’t see all there is to the situation.
Our perception becomes mixed up. We either focus on that, which isn’t as important in the long-run or we project what we THINK we see, rather than what’s really true. Even innocent gestures can become suspect, if our opinion of what is happening is askew.
Focusing on What’s Real
Hugh and Cindi McMenamin wrote on this issue in a Crosswalk.com article titled, “Want a Closer Connection? Praise Your Spouse.” It it they ask:
“Where’s Your Focus?
“In Philippians 4:8 we are told how to keep our minds from focusing on the negative. ‘Keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.‘ (CEV) That advice works not only in life, but in marriage. That is especially true when it comes to how you choose to view your spouse. We say choose because it is a choice. Human nature will see what is there. It will notice the negative and focus on it. A divine nature (God’s love working through you) will see the best in the other. What is seen is ‘the best, not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly, things to praise, not things to curse’ (Philippians 4:8, The Message).
“By looking for the good intention, the silver lining, the shred of goodness in something your spouse is doing that annoys you, you will condition yourself to be one who praises the positive in another person.”
Focus on the Truth
The next verse in Philippians (vs 9) says, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me —put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” That’s my challenge for you today. Ask God to help you to focus on the truth of the situations facing you in your marriage. Look for ways in which you can apply grace, as Christ did and does. I’m not talking about not saying something confrontational when you should. I’m talking about not saying something when it’s the right thing to do in the over-all scheme of things.
And even if your spouse does a hundred things that irritate you, ask God to show you how to be gracious for that which is praiseworthy. You can tell him or her how much you appreciate it. By doing so, “the God of peace will be with you.”
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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