In Philippians 4:8 the Apostle Paul challenges us to fix our minds on what is excellent and worthy of praise!
Nowhere is this advice more valuable than in marriage. Every thought you think about your spouse either moves you toward your best relationship or it moves you further away. Just thinking critically about your spouse, even if you believe it is warranted, will interrupt and postpone true intimacy and the closeness you both desire. As relentlessly as you may try, you cannot think one thing about your mate and experience something different in the relationship. And the more frequently you think about something, the tighter the grip it exerts on you, the decisions you make, and the actions you take.
In what way might you be over-emphasizing a previous disappointment or struggle in your marriage?
There will always be some junk and there will always be some greatness!
This is true in marriage and in all other areas of life as well. Marriage is never completely good or completely bad. Inevitably, permanent relationships are filled with peaks and valleys. But even in the valleys, there will still be some things worth appreciating. And even on the mountain peaks, everything will not be 100% perfect. Both the worst and the best decisions you’ve ever made began with a simple thought. With a little practice, you can upgrade your thought life and begin to mentally sculpt the relationship of your dreams. Make the time this week to contemplate the wonderful and exciting plans God has in store for you future together.
Do you as a couple tend to spend more time dwelling on the past and present or dreaming together about the future?
Build up and affirm each other daily!
Once married, no one on the planet has such a dominating influence on your self-worth as your mate. In fact, in a marriage there is a collective self-image that establishes a ceiling of satisfaction for both of you. In other words, as he builds her up, he builds up the whole relationship. As she affirms him, she is affirming the future she really desires. This is important to keep in mind only during each of the 365 days every year. You can perpetually strengthen your marriage by purposefully becoming your spouse’s greatest champion. Anyone can praise after the fact, but you can take a proactive role in the quality control of your relationship by affirming what is lovely, excellent, and appreciated…IN ADVANCE of its actual occurrence.
In what ways could you encourage your mate with the words he/she wants and needs to hear?
Make February 14th an upward turning point!
Shower each other for the next thirty days with the types of thoughts and words of encouragement you would naturally offer if you were already experiencing your ideal relationship. Practice the golden rule with each other. Pursue each other all over again. Love her the way she wants to be loved. Respect him the way he wants to be respected. Write a love note on the bathroom mirror. Leave notes in her car. Leave a note under his pillow. Change her day with a thoughtful email. Make his day with a special voice mail. Initiate prayer together. Refuse to entertain thoughts of doubt, deficiency or disappointment. Remind each other as you fall asleep that the best is yet to come…and believe it. Then travel the extra mile to make it a reality.
What’s the goal of your marriage and how does this influence your daily interaction with each other?