Assuming the Best in Marriage

Assuming the worst

Has your spouse ever assumed the worst of you? Have you ever assumed the worst of your spouse? Hardly a marriage escapes this happening at some point, but rarely do spouses choose to reverse the trend of negative assumptions and replace them with assuming the best.

When we assume the worst our minds are driven by fear, anger, confusion, and pride. We make dark judgments about our mate’s intentions and motives. As a result, our minds begin to conjure up scenarios about their underlying aim. Anger, hurt, and misunderstanding can well up in our heart and mind. We distance ourselves emotionally.  Sometimes we may even accuse our spouse of things that aren’t at all what they were meaning to project. Ultimately, loneliness can get anchored in our marriage because there are now two lonely, well-intentioned but misunderstood people.

So how can we break free from the trap of assumptions? Here are four things you can begin today to build your marriages with right thinking:

1) Release your right to question motives

The Bible is clear that “motives are weighed by the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:2). When we assume we know and understand our spouse’s intentions, we create a scenario in which they have already lost.  We lose as well because our misunderstanding leads to a misinformed reaction that perpetuates the hurt and distance with our spouse.

2) Consider the alternatives

Look at the situation from your spouse’s perspective. What might your spouse be facing, feeling, thinking? Are they under stress at work? How are the dynamics with their extended family? Are they simply expressing habits that they’ve formed over the years verses doing things to specifically spite you?

3) Listen to understand

To avoid false accusations, ask questions to get at the heart of the matter. A couple of good lead-in statements to learn someone’s thinking include:

“Help me understand….” This phrase communicates that you are the listener and your spouse is empowered to teach. It can set the stage for a healthy dialogue.

“When that happened, I felt….” No one can legitimately argue with your feelings because they are yours! This allows you to express how you were impacted without assigning blame and thus escalating the tension and division.

4) Verbalize the best

Make it a daily habit to tell your spouse things that you appreciate about who they are. Focus on character qualities such as: their work ethic, love for family, humility, drive, passion, intelligence, tenderness, mercy, etc. As you communicate these things, you will begin to think about your spouse with your mind permeated with the positive instead of the negative.

What have you done to retrain your mind so you are assuming and thinking the best of your spouse? Start today with these four steps and build your marriage!

Three Prayers for Your Spouse

spouse praying

If you don’t pray for your spouse, who will? We readily talk to our spouse and about our spouse to others. But we often miss the opportunity to effect the greatest impact by talking to God on their behalf.

You have been placed in the unique position of knowing your mate better than anyone else. You see them at their best and probably at their worst. You know their schedule, burdens, strengths and weaknesses. God has allowed you to have the privilege of being your spouse’s most faithful intercessor. Sometimes it’s just hard to know where to start!

Here are three simple ways to pray for your spouse that can impact their life and shape your heart:

1) Focused prayer

Take one full minute and pray only for your spouse. You can talk to God about the burdens you know they are carrying. Take to God your spouse’s schedule for the day, asking for wisdom, discernment, and strength for them. If there are health issues, zero in on those and ask for healing. If you/they have children, you can focus on the traits that are important as a parent and that God will give them all that they need.

2) Secret prayer

Either at night or in the morning, if you are awake when your spouse is sleeping just gently touch them and pray (silently! 🙂 ) for them. Pray that God would bless them and give his favor to them. You might focus on their relationship with Jesus and ask that they would have a greater hunger for the things of God. One idea is to use a verse from the Bible as a guide for what to pray. One verse to use is Colossians 1:9 which reads, “… we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

3) Thankful prayer

Through the course of your day, each time your spouse comes to mind, breathe a prayer of thanks to God for something specific about them. Thank God for things they do that are meaningful to you. We suggest concentrating on character qualities and personality traits that you appreciate. Some ideas might be their: honesty, work ethic, humor, wisdom, courage, strength, gentleness, gracefulness, faithfulness, intelligence, humility, etc. You get the idea!

What are some things that you pray for your spouse? Learn to pray through the day and watch God build your marriage!

When The Enemy Attacks Your Marriage

Laguna Sunset

Your marriage is under attack. Even when things are going well, when romance is high and communication is flowing, there is an assault being planned. Your enemy is not your spouse—your enemy is the enemy of Christ, Satan and his forces. They will do all they can to neutralize the effectiveness of your marriage partnership for Christ. Even if they cannot ultimately destroy your marriage, they will have accomplished their purpose if they can distract you from each other and from your impact for Jesus.

Don’t misunderstand us—Satan will do his best to use your spouse, extended family, “friends,” and others for his purposes. But they are not your real enemy. The Bible is clear that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) Again, your spouse is not your enemy.

The tactics the enemy uses aren’t new or creative. They are the same ones he uses in almost any situation—only they are applied to your marriage.

Here are the three main tactics followed by how you can stand up to him.

1) Fear

Anything that can inject fear into you or your spouse will work. The Apostle Peter describes our attacker as one who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 3:8). His roar is meant to paralyze with fear. He wants to separate the two of you so he can have your to himself. Then he can pepper your mind with doubts and fears.

Some of the key marital fears we have observed or experienced are fears of:

  • Losing security (financial, domestic, relational)
  • Rejection
  • Abuse (control, verbal, physical, mental)
  • Failure

2) Disunity

Jesus prayed for the unity of all Christians, including you and your spouse. However, Satan is doing all he can to create division in your marriage. If he can create irritations between you and pride within you, then he has a foothold for division.

Some key areas where he seeks to bring disunity are around:

  • Conflict with no resolution
  • Disagreements with disrespect
  • Communication that fails to connect
  • Values that conflict
  • Family meddling
  • Offense taken and not forgiven or resolved

3) Disloyalty

This is betrayal in its various forms in a marriage. If the enemy can entice one spouse into finding pleasure, relationship, and intimacy anywhere else then he has done his work.  Here are primary avenues he uses:

  • Pornography
  • Adultery—both physical and emotional
  • Workaholism
  • Family—over committed to the children at the exclusion of your spouse

So what can we DO to combat these tactics?

1) Claim your authority

You are positionally seated with Christ as his follower (Ephesians 2:6). Pray with confidence a prayer like, “In the Name of Jesus Christ and his shed blood I command every evil spirit to leave my home and my marriage. You will not have your way with me or us.” 

2) Flee temptation

When temptation presents itself to you—RUN! There is always a way out. God has already given you the strength and courage to escape, you just have to choose his escape route. (1 Corinthians 10:12ff)

3) Resist the devil

As you take your authority in Christ and flee temptation your are promised that the enemy will then flee from you. If you don’t know what to say or pray, repeat the name of Jesus. There is power in his name!

What have you done to resist the enemy’s attacks? Share them below and stand strong together in Christ as you build your marriage!

7 Reasons to Write Love Notes

Love notes 2

 

When was the last time you gave your spouse a handwritten love note? Texts, emails, and audio texts don’t count here—our focus is using pen and paper to write a romantic note to your mate.

According to a British survey conducted in June 2012 the average time since an adult wrote anything at all by hand was 41 days. In fact, one in three people said they hadn’t written anything by hand for at least six months!

Before we were married our relationship was long distance for four years. During the last two of those years we wrote each other a letter every day—without fail. There are two trunks filled with old love letters in our basement (don’t tell our children!). We carried the practice of writing love notes into our marriage and it has continued to this day. We still text or email quick words of love, affection, and appreciation—but the handwritten note carries more significance.

We want to challenge you to begin writing your spouse a note at least once a week. You can do it—and here are seven reasons why you should write a handwritten love note:

1) It takes time and effort

Yes, this may be your excuse for why not to write a note, but the energy expended to write will be appreciated by your spouse. Time and effort are important deposits into your marriage love bank.

2) Notes require thoughtfulness

To sit down and hand write what is on your heart requires a slowing of process. There is additional care given when using ink because you can’t hit delete and start over. Thoughtfulness is a key ingredient to romance.

3)  Love notes are fun to find

There is an element of mystery injected into your relationship because neither of you will know when or where a note will show up! It’s like a mini love-gift that’s free to give but priceless to receive.

4) It’s a window into your heart

When you write it is like pulling back the blinds and revealing the blazing fire in your heart for your spouse. What you choose to express will matter to your spouse in ways that go deeper than the words themselves.

5) It’s specific to your spouse

Emails and texts can have multiple recipients, but a hand written note has only one—and that is your mate. They feel special, prized, and honored when you choose to write down your love for them.

6) Your note is lasting and can be saved

Hard drives containing emails can crash, but what you share on paper can be preserved in a drawer, a book, a safety deposit box, or a trunk in the basement. 🙂

7) It can be delivered creatively

You can send a card by mail to your spouses workplace. If they are usually the one to get the mail at home—mail it to your home! You can leave a post it on the mirror, or tape your words to their steering wheel. Leave a note on their pillow or slip it under their sheet before they get in bed!

Write and give a note and then share what happened below—we’d love to hear from you as you build your marriage!