Your Attitude Influences Your Marriage

 

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Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8 (New Living Translation)

You cannot always change your environment, but you can change your attitude. The day after a heavy rain, you can look down and see puddles and mud, or look up and see a beautiful sky. It’s a change of perspective.

A key element to a healthy, strong marriage is the attitude you both have about your marriage. The attitude that you and your spouse choose to have, on a daily basis, will greatly influence the life you enjoy together. Negative attitudes can create a tremendous weight on your marriage, while a consistently positive attitude can help uplift your marriage – putting everything in its real perspective.

Your attitude – how you think about your spouse and what you think about your spouse – is powerful because it determines your feelings and actions. It’s easy to be negative in marriage, which makes it even more necessary that you focus on your spouse’s good qualities and express thanks with positive words.

If you are expecting and anticipating that your spouse is going to be complaining, that is what you are going to hear. Since you are expecting it, it will be what stands out most when your spouse speaks to you. If you expect your spouse to be dissatisfied with you, then you are going to prepare an appropriate (or inappropriate) response in advance, even when that might not have been your intention.

When you think negative thoughts or expect negative responses, you develop a negative attitude. Attitude is what you get after you develop a style of thinking (positive or negative) and then practice it so well that it seems like you don’t even have to think it out before you respond. Having an attitude is like pre-thinking your next response.

A positive attitude requires a clear action plan that addresses your thoughts and words. Here are three affirmations that you can use to build a better attitude about your marriage:

  1. I will not be a complainer!
  2. I will speak to myself with encouraging words! I will speak aloud things that God says are true, regardless of how I feel.
  3. Every time I think of my spouse, I will pray, “Lord, thank you for giving my husband/wife as your awesome gift. Help me to see the great value of your gift to me!”

Let’s talk:  How has your attitude about yourself and/or your spouse played either a positive or a negative role in your marriage?  Please leave a comment below.

The above post is an excerpt from Tools for a Great Marriage Devotional by Willie Batson.

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Lessons Learned from Shattered Dreams

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I’ve been reading, again, a book that stirred, invigorated, and challenged me several years ago. Dr. Larry Crabb’s Shattered Dreams is a wise, hopeful, honest, and realistic examination of life’s difficulties and tragedies – our shattered dreams.

ShatteredDreamsDealing with a chronic illness marriage or any other loss in your life can be a genuine test of what really matters to you, what lurks in your soul and mind, the dreams you have or had. Dr. Crabb writes that “shattered dreams are never random. They are a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story.”

From the narrative of Naomi in the Bible’s book of Ruth, Dr. Crabb has learned six lessons – hard ones, wonderful ones, lessons that must be learned if we are to fulfill our true destiny. Necessary lessons if we are to grow into people with peace and power and unspeakable joy no matter what our circumstances. I share them here for your consideration. I recommend you get the book for more insights on these lessons.

  • Lesson #1 – Shattered dreams are necessary for spiritual growth.
  • Lesson #2 – Something wonderful survives everything terrible, and it surfaces most clearly when we hurt.
  • Lesson #3 – Some dreams important to us will shatter, and the realization that God could have fulfilled that dream pushes us into a terrible battle with Him.
  • Lesson #4 – Only an experience of deep pain develops our capacity for recognizing and enjoying true life.
  • Lesson #5 – Not many Christians drink deeply from the well of living water. As a result, our worship, our community, and our witness are weak.
  • Lesson #6 – No matter what happens in life, a wonderful dream is available, always, that if pursued will generate an unfamiliar, radically new internal experience. That experience, strange at first, will eventually be recognized as joy.

As I re-read Shattered Dreams, my sense of what really matters, what I truly long for, my dreams for this life, are being upended. I’m being forced to honestly and radically trust God as He redirects my focus, my loves, and my dreams.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Against All Odds

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Have you ever been in a situation or circumstance where there were a lot of problems and it appeared that there was no way out? It appeared hopeless, against all odds.

An ancient king of the Jewish people – Hezekiah – faced a situation that appeared to have no good outcome. It was one of those “against all odds” circumstances. There were a lot of problems and it appeared that he was not likely to succeed in preventing the impending destruction of his kingdom. You can read about it in the Old Testament of the Bible (2 Chronicles 32).

The part of the story that I want you to think about is found in these verses…

“After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out this work, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified towns, giving orders for his army to break through their walls. When Hezekiah realized that Sennacherib also intended to attack Jerusalem, he consulted with his officials and military advisers, and they decided to stop the flow of the springs outside the city. They organized a huge work crew to stop the flow of the springs, cutting off the brook that ran through the fields. For they said, “Why should the kings of Assyria come here and find plenty of water?” Then Hezekiah worked hard at repairing all the broken sections of the wall, erecting towers, and constructing a second wall outside the first. He also reinforced the supporting terraces in the City of David and manufactured large numbers of weapons and shields.” (2 Chronicles 32:1-5, New Living Translation)

Hezekiah did not sit around waiting for his kingdom to come crashing down. Neither did he abandon the people who trusted him to lead them through this time of adversity. The king took steps to get his house in order, to make provision for the challenges he faced and was about to encounter.

His response to what appeared to be a hopeless situation is relevant for our own hardships and afflictions. Notice three things he did.

Blocked off the Bad

Hezekiah cut off the access the Assyrian army would have to the water in the area. That access would allow the “bad” to get a foothold around the city. Hezekiah doesn’t just sit around waiting for God to do something. This would be a good practice for us.

  • Do you have financial struggles, but continue to pursue an unsustainable lifestyle instead of living within your means?
  • Do you have relational situations where friends/family are pushing you in a direction you know God doesn’t want?
  • Do you want to grow spiritually in your marriage, but all of your busyness and distractions leave no time for the spiritual disciplines necessary for that growth?
  • What causes the enemy to linger in your lives?

Mended the Broken

Hezekiah repaired the broken sections of the walls around the city. What about the things that were once healthy and strong in your marriage, but are no longer – communication, trust, friendship, sexual intimacy, resistance to temptations that weaken your marital connection? Hezekiah and his people worked hard to repair what was broken in order to keep the enemy from easily overtaking them.

Bolstered the Weak

He built another wall outside the main wall and reinforced the supporting fortifications and terraces. It wasn’t enough to have one wall around the city. Do you know the weak spots in your life, in your faith, in your marriage? If the enemy concentrated his efforts there, would he be able to break through and destroy your marriage and faith in God? All may seem well now, but over the long run you would be vulnerable. What are you doing to reinforce the vulnerable areas of your relationship with your spouse?

Every marriage will face a time of adversity and distress. It may be a chronic illness, the death of a child, a crisis of faith, a financial setback, a loss of trust and security because of an adulterous affair, or an out-of-control addiction. Are you prepared? Is your house in order?

Let’s talk about it: What have you done to reinforce the vulnerable areas of your relationship with your spouse? (Please leave a reply below.)

*I want to express appreciation to Scott Ridout for his sermon (www.sermoncentral.com), Uncertainty, that gave me the idea for this article.

Want to listen to the full message I gave at Grace Community Church (Rochester, NH) on January 26, 2014?