Have you ever wondered how you could grow a better marriage than you now have? Could it be that the way we approach marriage could also help us to grow a better marriage? Prayerfully consider the following:
“Knowing why we are married and should stay married is crucial. The key question is this: Will we approach marriage from a God-centered view or a man-centered view? In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator.”
“Once we understand this divine perspective for marriage, God can begin to change the way we think about our marriages.” (Gary Thomas, from his book, “The Sacred Marriage)
Think Your Way to a Better Marriage
In his book, Different By Design: God’s Master Plan for Harmony Between Men and Women in Marriage, Pastor Dale Burke identifies 5 areas in which our thinking needs to be transformed if we are to have a fulfilling marriage. As we share these areas, we encourage you to ask God to help you apply them to your marriage.
Dale Burke challenges us to:
Keep Him in the center of your marriage. Why? If I think about God, I realize the covenant I made at the altar was with Him as well as with my wife. When I keep that in mind, I realize that through Christ on the cross God provided the model of how to love my wife. He modeled how to forgiver her when she fails and how she is to forgive me.
God is also our motivation to persevere. There are times in our marriage when neither one of us is “lovable.” But our covenant says we are going to love each other anyway.
Recognizing marriage as a lifelong commitment makes us realize that we win or lose together, which boosts our motivation to make marriage a winner. Since the marriage covenant is a lifelong commitment, our only other alternative is to live in misery our whole lives, and who wants that? Not me.
So, when we think team, our motivation to avoid divorce increases as well, because there are no winners in divorce. Even when we are angry, tired, or frustrated, we remember that is all about us, not just me. We are in this thing (marriage) together, so we had better invest in our greatest asset, our spouse.
To do so helps us to go through the seasonal ups and downs, and the swings in our level of marital satisfaction. Marriage is a lot like the stock market. The days it’s up, it’s great. It’s the best thing that could have happened to us. But other days, when the stock market takes a dive, that’s when we are tempted to “bail out.”
But seasoned investors know that when stocks go low you need to hang in there, because over the long-haul you will come out ahead. And that is what many people do in marriage. When it drops, they bail out. That’s a bad decision with your stocks; it’s a worse decision with your marriage. Stick with it for the long—haul.
Investing in your marriage means you realize that even small investments, small sacrifices, deposited consistently overtime, produce great dividends. If you don’t think doing small things for a long time will pay off, think of it this way: Financial advisers point out that saving merely $1 per day from the age of twenty-one until retirement, assuming an average interest rate of just 7%, will result in about a million dollars by age sixty-five.
Wow! Marriage investments are just like that, only better! Small investments of time, compliments, and sacrifices for the other, will give you a much higher return, because the dividends are far greater.”
Additionally, Think of Marriage As An Empty Box
J. Allan Peterson put it this way:
“Most people come into marriage believing it is a box full of goodies from which we extract all we need to make us happy. Marriage is an empty box. There is nothing in it. It is an opportunity to put something in, to do something for marriage.
Marriage was never intended to do something for anybody. People are expected to do something for marriage. If you do not put into the box more than you take out, it becomes empty.
Love isn’t in marriage, it is in people, and people put it into marriage. Romance, consideration, and generosity in marriage, are in people, and people put them into the marriage box. Living for each other, releases both of you to relax and work together productively to keep the box full.”
Continuing on with Pastor Burke’s points concerning how we can think our way to a better marriage:
THINK COMMITMENT —and communicate it consistently.
Reaffirming your love and loyalty for life actually enhances the quality of your relationship. Why?
- First, security is the key to honesty. If I don’t think my marriage is secure, I’m not going to reveal what I really think and feel, because if I tell the truth, maybe my spouse will leave me.
- Second, honesty is the key to intimacy. Without honesty in our relationship, we can never develop intimacy. But when we’re able to be honest with each other, we draw closer together in every area of our life.
- Finally, intimacy is the key to joy. With intimacy comes a deep sense of security, and joy grows in that sort of environment.
Also, consider the following on ways you can think your way to a better marriage (also written by Dale Burke):
Threats of leaving will never strengthen your marriage. But responding to moments of vulnerability or even anger with assurances of your commitment will deepen your love for each other on every level.
Imagine, for example, that you are exasperated and you say to your spouse, “Honey, right now I’m so angry, but I am going to love you for life whether you like it or not. So let’s go to work on this thing, because I want to make you the happiest person on earth. It’s obvious I’m not doing that right now. But I am committed to never stop trying. Please help me.”
The kind of attitude reflected in a statement like that will go a long way in revitalizing most any marriage!
Your attitude and your thoughts towards your spouse and your marriage makes a true difference. If you want to build a better marriage, make sure you avoid: STINKING THINKING PERCEPTIONS OF SPOUSE.
Putting Thoughts into Actions
We hope the thoughts above, will inspire you to THINK your way into a better marriage and then act accordingly. Good thoughts without putting them into action won’t help your marriage very much! It’s a good start, but there must be a follow-through in our physical approach.
To line your thoughts and actions up with God’s, we encourage you to pray what the psalmist prayed in Psalm 51:10 and Psalm 139:23-24:
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
May God bless you in your marriage as you reach out for His help,
Cindy and Steve Wright
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