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“For he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. ‘Eat and drink,’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you. | Proverbs 23:7
Remember, Your Outcome Begins in Your Mind-set
Ever glance off at a pretty sunset only to feel your car tires jarring along the roadside? Truth is, if we focus exclusively on driving between the yellow lines, we avoid veering. We can apply this principle to our life and marriage as well.
Napoleon Hill once wrote, “Every man is what he is, because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.” He’s not alone in his thinking. Thought leaders throughout time agree that our outcome begins in our mindset. We find what we look for. We become what we think about. Their wisdom suggests that when we focus on fixing our issues, we unwittingly perpetuate our problems. However, when we focus on our desired outcome, aligning our thoughts with God’s purpose, we reap the benefits of living His design for our marriage.
As a couple, what do you tend to talk about? Where do your thoughts most naturally gravitate?
If you want to live a higher way of living—God’s way of living—in your marriage, create new habits of thinking. Instead of thinking and talking about your obstacles, consider God’s purpose. Instead of focusing on the problems in your relationship, consider what you both agree on and desire as an end result. Instead of pondering what you want to change about your spouse, consider how your differences make you stronger. Envision your desired outcome and welcome God’s perfect plan for your marriage, knowing your outcome begins in your mindset.
Father, empower us to see your vision instead of our obstacles. We want to celebrate your unique purpose for our marriage and see the beauty in our individual design.
Marriage is a good gift from God that is celebrated in the Bible. Even if you haven’t been married, you can likely attest to the positive influence that a healthy marriage can have on the people surrounding them—from kids to friends and even coworkers. If you’ve been married (for more than a week), you know firsthand that marriage isn’t easy. Challenges and struggles can cause us to forget that spouses are blessings to be protected, not a burden to be lifted.
How can you remind yourself and treat your spouse like the blessing he or she is? Try one of these ways to invest in your marriage:
This may seem counterintuitive, but your marriage won’t get better if you simply focus on one another. You won’t become the person God wants you to be by simply willing or wishing it will happen. As believers, we’re not interested in simple behavior modification; we want to become transformed from the inside out by Jesus. That’s the only way any relationship—including our marriages—will become transformed. Focus on Jesus today by spending time in prayer, reading His word, and meditating on how you can apply what it says.
Even if you’re already great at asking your spouse, “How was your day?” you can ask more questions that show you’re interested in what your spouse is feeling, thinking, and dreaming. Steer clear of “yes/no” questions and then create some space to listen. Here are just a few to get your conversations started:
Have you ever experienced the joy of being able to tell your spouse, “That’s already taken care of,” when he or she reminds you of a task that’s on their mind? It’s surprising and delightful. Keep your eyes open for tasks you can get done for your spouse. From getting his car washed to planning and cooking a meal for her, sacrificing your own time so that your other half can have more is time shows that you value and appreciate him or her.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the monotony of what needs to get done to meet the needs at work, home, and school. From the morning rush to jam-packed evenings and getting ready for the next day, it can be difficult to find space to see each other, let alone really connect with one another. Do you always watch TV after dinner? Take a walk with one another instead. Do you check emails and the news before work each day? Enjoy a technology-free coffee or breakfast together before heading off to work.
If we believe that prayer is powerful, why wouldn’t we pray regularly for our spouse and our marriage? Set a reminder on your phone for the same time each day to pray for anything your spouse is facing. Maybe it’s a big presentation at work or parent-teacher conference concerning a struggling child, you can take whatever it is to the Lord on behalf of your spouse. You can even take time to pray over your husband or wife before the day begins or as it ends.
It takes daily investment and maintenance to create a thriving relationship. Great marriages—that honor and reflect Christ and the church—don’t happen by accident, so put these suggestions into practice today.