How do you view your spouse? What type of “glasses” are you looking through in your mind’s eye? Are you looking through tired eyes—through a view that isn’t as positive as it was before marriage? It’s important to truly consider how we view our spouse.
How We View Our Spouse
My husband Steve and I have been married for almost 42 years. YEAH!!! As I look back, I can see that even though we’ve had a LOT of ups and downs in our relationship, the Lord has helped us to fall even more in love with each other than ever before (when we look to Him to help us). When I look at my husband I see a man who is the love of my life; and I’m so grateful. Especially since living together day in and day out can change the way we view and treat each other!
It’s like what Drs Gary and Greg Smalley state:
“During courtship and early married life, almost everything the mate says or does is interpreted in a positive light. He or she can do no wrong. Even unpleasant behavior can be turned around and made positive. This produces a ‘perfect’ image of the loved one that emphasizes the appealing features and conceals the undesirable one. In a sense, it’s like one mate views the other with a pair of rose tinted glasses —everything is perfect.”
“But if the marriage runs into trouble, the repeated disappointments, arguments, and frustrations lead to a change in perspective. For example, a wife may shift from a ‘rose-colored’ perspective to a negative one. Her attitude changes from one of admiration to faultfinding. Then, much of what he does is interpreted in a negative light. He can do no right. In essence, when the relationship runs into persistent problems, we have a tendency to switch ‘lenses’ and see our mate differently —more negatively.”
Dr Debbie Cherry adds:
“Each of us sees our world, through a particular set of senses. If we’re not careful, the type of glasses we put on can distort what we’re trying to see.”
So, let’s look at a few of the types of “glasses” we can view our spouse through and hopefully, we’ll learn something through this examination. The first there are:
Dr Debbie L. Cherry, in her book, Child-Proofing Your Marriage says:
“These are just about everyone’s favorite! We’d all love to live in a world that is perfect, and that’s what these glasses help us to believe. As we slip these glasses on, everything we see seems to change.”
But is this “change” something that benefits our marriage? Sometimes! The Bible says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”(Proverbs 19:11) Prayerfully seek God’s wisdom to know when it’s best to overlook and when it isn’t.
As Dr Cherry says, “Although we may say that we don’t want to wear these glasses, many of us end up choosing to put them on at least part of the time.” And this can be dangerous because how we see our spouse can sometimes become clouded.
“If our sensitivity levels are set too high, we can take offense when none is intended. We can look for slights when they aren’t really there. We can assume the worst when it may not be true.” (Gary Oliver, from the book, “A Woman’s Forbidden Emotion”)
Drs Les and Leslie Parrott give a great demonstration of this point through a simple exercise they use when they teach undergraduates. They ask their students to point out to the person sitting next to them everything they can find that’s the color green in the room. After doing that, they ask how many of them came into the room looking for green things before they did this exercise. When no hands go up they say, “What we have done, in only a few seconds, is give you a ‘green mind-set.’”
They go on to tell them:
“All of us see whatever it is we prepare our minds to see. Our perception, in how we view a situation, is the result of our attitude. Once we have a particular mind-set, we see everything and everybody in a certain way —either more positively or negatively —even if our perception isn’t accurate. That’s why in marriage and in life, we so often find what we’re looking for. If you think your spouse is lazy, you can find plenty of evidence to support your case. If you think your spouse is efficient, you can find experiences to back that up too. Whatever you have it in your mind to find, you will.” (From the Parrott’s book, “I Love You More”)
These are held in front of our eyes so we can things view things clearer than we could otherwise. But caution that needs to be noted with Magnifying Glasses, because sometimes we turn them on our spouse and on others, inspecting their every fault without turning them on ourselves —which can lead to trouble.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’” (Matthew 7:3-5)
These are worn by those who are trying to protect their eyesight. And that’s what we want in our marriage. The enemy of our faith wants to distort the way we see our spouse, which can cause a lot of problems. If we aren’t able to see our spouse as our Heavenly Father sees him or her, then we aren’t looking at them in Truth. Our vision is worth protecting!
“The eye is a lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”(Ephesians 1:17-19)
These types of glasses are ones with no tint at all. They allow you to look at your spouse realistically and see both the good and the “not-so-good.” Prayerfully as you clearly look through them you’ll see your spouse as God does —with HIS eyes. Think about this:
“How would you treat your spouse if you saw them as being autographed by God?” (Dr Gary Smalley)
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Radio host Ron Hutchcraft relates the story of his blind friend who had surgery, which miraculously restored some of his sight —“the sight he’d lost years before.” Ron said, “He told us how beautiful the mountains were; especially how beautiful his wife was. He said, ‘I’ve finally seen my wife for the first time in 16 years!’ What a breakthrough!”
We pray for all who are reading this that need a breakthrough miracle —that you’ll look at your spouse, maybe for the first time in years, and see him or her clearly as God does —with the eyes of HIS heart! As this happens, we pray that God’s love will knit BOTH of your hearts together!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
Sheila Wray Gregoire wrote the following article, which addresses this issue. Even though this article is addressed to women and how they view the men in their lives, men can switch the pronouns and relate to what she points out, as well. That lens is important to clear and cleanse, whether you are a man or a woman.
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