Focusing on What Really Is

Focusing Pixabay glasses-1582473_1920Focusing 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.

And 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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2 responses to “Focusing on What Really Is

  1. (USA) My biggest challenge is that I am a positive person who always looks for the good side of everything or at least I make a concentrated effort to do so. My husband seems not to do that. I don’t want to call him negative because sometimes he analyzes things in such a way that seems negative but in reality it’s just an honest view that I don’t want to admit to.

    When he speaks about his day though, he speaks of all of the negative things that happen or that were said & it kinda puts a damper on my evening. He’s quick to point out the things that are wrong quickly but is slow to praise & is of the mind that praise is something that shouldn’t be over used or no one will work harder. I see his point of view but it’s a difficult personality to stay positive with. What are some ideas you may have to help me help him see things in a more positive light?

    1. Kimberly, Some people are wired that way and they don’t realize how it can come across to others. To them, it makes sense and is natural. My youngest son is that way (he’s 37). For years he had a real hard time with those who are naturally bubbly or overly optimistic. He was turned off by it and thought it was fake (which usually it wasn’t). But eventually he grew up and now has a wife who has a tendency to be a more positive person (good thing — two Eeyore’s in the same household could be a bit much). For them, he has had to stretch a bit to be more positive and try not to get so serious all the time and for her, she has had to tamp down the bubbliness sometimes –realizing it can get on his nerves (as he can get on hers). They have a great marriage though, so they’ve been able to make it work. But it is grow up time.

      The problem comes in when one spouse doesn’t want to work on their end of these types of matters. They will say, “Well, that’s just the way I am and so she (or he) needs to accept me this way.” Honestly, that’s a cop-out, if that’s their attitude. They’re involved in being more self-obsorbed on this rather than finding ways to marry both approaches. I guess what you can do about it is pray. And ask God to show you how to best approach your husband on this subject. Then, when you feel you have committed it to the amount of prayer that you should, find the right time and place to talk to him, asking him what signal you can give him or what way can you approach him when you need a bit more of a positive approach given for that particular time.

      That’s what my husband Steve and I have done over the years. He can be the bouncy one –sometimes a little too energetic when I need things a bit more quiet (if hormonal things are going on, or so). But we’ve worked out signals. And if I’m too serious (although I DO love a good laugh and am also an encourager), Steve has found great ways to gently help me to step out of my seriousness.

      Kimberly, what it comes down to is this isn’t something where I can give you a magic formula and you apply it and everything is just fine and dandy afterward. It’s trial and error, finding what works (because we’re all different), and BOTH of you working to give each other the grace that is needed to make this work, leaning toward growing and building communication bridges. My husband and I work to be a soft place to fall for the other –to support each other and to love on each other and to find ways to minister to each other — to laugh together and cry together and grieve together (even if we have differing ways of doing that). Sometimes I need more grace and sometimes my husband needs more –we have our seasons. But above all, we’ve pledged to find ways to bridge our differences and continue to grow our relationship so neither of us will be tempted to find comfort elsewhere. We are partners for life and since neither of us wants to be miserable for the rest of our lives, we WILL find ways to work through our differences and love on each other. I hope that for you. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 15:5-6)