Over the years my experience working with couples, as well as my own study of both Scripture and research, have led me to really appreciate the role that attitude plays in my life. It affects my job, faith, and relationships — especially my relationship with my wife.
In marriage, it is very important to check our attitudes and discern whether our thinking is based on truth or misconceptions. The truth sets us free (John 8:32), not necessarily what we perceive to be the truth. If left unchecked, distorted perceptions can poison our attitudes. And a poisoned attitude toward a spouse can tear down a relationship rather quickly.
Time for a Checkup
When I find myself feeling and acting negatively toward my wife, I start addressing it by doing an attitude check:
- Is my spirit right toward her?
- Are the things I believe about her true or false?
- Is she really unconcerned about what I am going through right now?
- Does she really respond a certain way all the time?
- Is she really ignoring my needs, on purpose?
These are the types of questions that often convict me and prompt me to adjust my attitude — and thus my actions.
The Bible is full of exhortations about checking our thinking and attitudes:
- "Guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth." (Malachi 2:15)
- "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life." (Proverbs 4:23)
- "…Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2)
I've come to realize that these scriptures apply not only to my spiritual life, but to my relational life — my marriage. God not only cares about my actions, he is concerned about my attitude regarding "the wife of my youth."
What about you? What's the quality of your thought life regarding your husband or wife? Are you embracing truth or untruths about your spouse? Are you keeping your attitude in check, or have you let your guard down?
Ask, Seek, Knock
I find that when I am off-base in my attitude and need to replace misperceptions with truth, I start by praying for God to change my heart. I ask Him to enable me to see the truth in my marriage and to see my wife through His eyes. Reading scripture also helps to realign my thinking. Sometimes I'll read a Christian book or marriage article, too.
Life circumstances, conflict and culture are constantly working to pull our hearts away from each other. Let's do all that we can to guard our hearts and protect our marriages, even if it means adjusting our attitudes from time to time.