Do you want to positively change your marriage so it goes from good to great? Or perhaps you need to do some recalibration so your relationship gets onto a better footing. Here’s a great tip given by marriage experts, Drs Les and Leslie Parrott. They suggest:
“Look for what you appreciate about your spouse. In doing so, you recalibrate your mindset. In a class we teach we have students take 10 seconds to notice everything that’s green. Suddenly, they see green everywhere. Why? That’s all they were looking for. The same is true in marriage. When we invoke a positive mindset, we see many more things they do well, which brings appreciation and positivity.”
Positively Change Your Marriage
Focusing on the positive, rather than on the negative definitely can change our mindset. I (Cindy) have used this “tool” many times. There are times when I get caught up in looking at the negative in my husband, and that’s all I can see. Now let me clarify. Steve’s a great guy. But when you live together day in and day out, it’s easy to start going down a negative path in your thoughts. You have to be careful not to go there.
When I have God has shown me to stop and recalibrate. He has shown me to focus on “whatever is good…” (as we’re told to do in Phil. 4:8-9). And when I do that it’s amazing, because eventually, the negative seems minor. The good reduces it so far down that it loses its negative, poisoning power.
Keep in mind:
“Thoughts and attitudes are like the engine of a train and our emotions and behavior are like the caboose. Thoughts help form and determine your attitudes toward marriage. They determine how you feel about your mate as well as how you feel about being married in general. Thoughts can inspire hope —or take it away. Changing the way you think is like a locomotive that switches tracks and heads in a new direction, taking the rest of the train —behavior, actions and habits —right along with it.” (Mitch Temple)
Recalibrate Thoughts and Actions
And then here’s another marriage tip to help to recalibrate your marriage relationship so it is better than ever. Actually, it comes in the form of a few questions you can ask your spouse. What is the reason for asking these questions? Here’s what Justin and Trish Davis write:
“It is easy to go days, weeks and even months without intentionally connecting with your husband or wife. You live in the same house, but stop sharing life together. It’s gradual. It’s incremental. It happens to the best of marriages. What if you could help your marriage be more about relationship and less about busyness? It’s easy to know our spouse’s schedule and forget about their heart. These questions will recalibrate your marriage.”
And they can. Originally there are six questions, which Justin and Trish, present on their Refine Us web site. We’ll give you three of them with our comments added under each one. And then we’ll provide a link so you can go to their web site to read all six, along with insightful comments written under all six. It’s worth your time to prayerfully consider what they write.
But for this Insight, we’ll give three of their questions, and add our own comments below each one. The first question is a brave one. It’s brave because you may not like the answer. But if you’re in true partnership, and you want to make your marriage into a better one, it’s a great one to ask. It shows you truly care about your spouse. Here goes:
How can I serve you this week?
This is truly a question that places our priorities in the right place. Jesus said that He came to “serve, not be served.” He showed it by His lifestyle. Jesus also showed it in the way that He prioritized His bride—the church. He not only lived a servant’s life, He willingly died for His bride. You can’t get any more sacrificial than that, nor serve anyone to more of a degree. We’re reminded of what we’re told in Philippians 2:2-7:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…“
Something to keep in mind:
“A good marriage is built through a thousand small acts. As a husband and wife lay down their lives for one another, the marriage thrives.” (Kevin A. Thompson)
Here’s something else that Kevin wrote that we agree with:
“Marriage begins when two people are willing to die for one another, but it flourishes as two people learn to live for each other.”
You have a flourishing marriage when you live in partnership with each other, joined together by God.
Here’s another good question to ask your spouse to “radically change your marriage” for the good:
What is the most important thing you need to accomplish this week?
Most of us tend to the “tyranny of the urgent.” But by asking your spouse this question, they may put it highest on their “to do” list. And that could be helpful. We really like what they wrote concerning this question. Here is a part of it: “Unspoken expectations are always unmet expectations. Most of the conflicts we experience in marriage derive from unmet expectations. If you know what your spouse needs to get done in a given week, you can be an ally for them in that process.”
This leads to the last question:
How can I pray for you?
Steve often asks me this question, and it means more to me than almost anything else he could ask. It truly makes me feel like he is my partner. He joins me in praying for that, which most concerns me. And that is true partnership.]
To view all six questions Josh and Trish Davis wrote along with the insightful comments they add after each one, please read:
To positively change your marriage by asking questions, keep in mind:
“Married couples with thriving marriages have developed healthy communication habits. If they have a good marriage, they’ve learned how to communicate. If they have a good marriage, they’ve learned how to listen. They make time to understand each other.” (Adam Gragg)
By asking the above questions and truly listening to your spouse, you can improve your marriage relationship in positive ways. That is our prayer and hope for you.
Work on implementing these marriage tips, and see how you and God can change your marriage for the better. We hope you will!
Cindy and Steve Wright
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