“If our thoughts were pictures—would you want your spouse to look at them?”
The truth is—a lot of times we wouldn’t! Our unedited thoughts could cause problems. But there’s more to consider here. Our guest writer, Debi Walter, from The Romantic Vineyard gives the following thoughts to prayerfully consider concerning this marital issue:
Thoughts as Pictures
A picture captures a moment in time to help us remember the experience, the people or the place photographed. I love to look at pictures as much as I like to take them. I see it as a type of journalism. Once the shot is caught on camera, I know I’ll always remember it. The same can be true for you.
Our thoughts are like pictures in our mind. What we allow ourselves to record in our thoughts will be remembered for a long time. This is why it is so important to follow the command of Scripture by taking every thought captive.
When it comes to how we think of our spouse and our marriage it is even more important to guard our thoughts.
It’s often the one with whom we are closest that we are the most critical. We can nit-pick every flaw and judge every (in)action. We can smother our spouse with accusations and never say a word. This is more dangerous than you know.
There is an old adage that says, “You are what you eat.” I think it could be said similarly…
“Our marriage is what we allow ourselves to think of it.”
Thinking of Your Spouse
Think the best of your spouse when they don’t do something you hoped they would, and your thoughts will stop there. On the contrary, if you critically judge your spouse’s motives you’ll open a door of angry thoughts towards them—like a Pandora’s Box you wished you’d never opened.
Sadly, many couples have lived this way for so many years that the issues are no longer clear, just the animosity they feel towards each other.
How can we erase the photos mounted on the walls of our mind? How can we begin to undo the damage years of unguarded thoughts have wrought? The answer is easier than you might think.
First of all, repent. Ask God to forgive you for thinking critically of your spouse. Then ask Him to help you undo the damage done. It might be an impossible task for us, but not for God. His power is limitless, and He is able to save.
Finally, His mercies are new every morning. So, every morning you can ask for His help, His mercy, and His power to work in you enabling you to begin thinking differently towards your spouse and marriage.
I love the movie, What About Bob? The concept Dr. Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) shares with Bob (Bill Murray), his patient, is a good one (albeit a bit exaggerated) to practice and it’s biblical.
Here’s the clip:
Zechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…”
Whenever there is work to be done, we have to start somewhere, and it can seem daunting. But if God has led you to read this post today, and you are being convicted to change, then God has planted a seed of hope in your heart. Taking small steps each day to change the way you think and act towards your spouse is like a tiny seedling taking root. It will grow if treated well. Neglect it and no doubt it will wither and die.
And you sure don’t want that! So, to further help you with this challenge, here’s something Dr Gary Chapman suggests that can help you to change the overall picture of your marriage:
“To improve your marriage, I suggest taking baby steps. Don’t look at the whole and think about how bad your marriage is. Rather, focus on one step you might take to make it better. Break through the silence with one act of kindness. Give her a flower, and say, ’I was thinking about you today.’ Look for something he does well and tell him you appreciate it. Give him a passionate kiss, and say, ‘I just wanted to remind you of what it was like when we first married. I’m willing to start over if you are.’” (From “The One Love Language Minute Devotional”)
Here are a few simple baby step tips (from Lisa Penn) that can help you to improve your marriage.
– When you are together, turn off both your phones. And then talk to each other while keeping eye contact.
– Always try to answer the phone when he [she] calls.
– Pull your car over and make out.
– When he [she] gets home — greet him [her] at the door; drop everything you’re doing and kiss.
– Go on a short (or long) walk and hold hands.
– Spice up your marriage through texting. You can bring the romance and passion back to your marriage — simply by pushing a few buttons on your cell phone.
– Keep your flirt on — flirting cannot be saved for anniversaries. It’s an easy way to keep the spark in your marriage and the romance alive. (From the article, “31 Quick & Easy Tips to Instantly Improve Your Marriage“)
We especially love this last one. No matter how long you’ve been married keep flirting with each other. It keeps your love alive and vibrant.
We encourage you to pray about the things suggested in this Marriage Insight. And when you do, we have no doubt that God will help you to change the picture of your marriage, one baby step at a time!
In conclusion, Debi Walter writes:
“Our encouragement to you today is to decide what one thing you can work on starting today. Pray and ask God for help to do the impossible and watch what happens. We have a feeling your baby steps will end up like giant leaps in the years to come. Now that’s a picture to hang on to.”
May God bless your marriage abundantly, one step at a time!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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