Every wounded and broken marriage has first been compromised in the thought life of one or both partners. Thoughts were not taken captive, but given free reign in the playground of the mind.
The health and success of your marriage is directly related what you are thinking about your spouse. In fact, the Bible is very clear that your actions will follow your thoughts. (Romans 8:5) If you set your mind on things of God, your actions will reflect that. If your thinking is based on the world’s values, your desires will be driven by your thought choices.
Our challenge to every reader is to do an honest evaluation of your thoughts about your spouse for 24 hours. No one will know what you are thinking except you and God. But if you are willing, this exercise has the potential to redirect the trajectory of your marriage and inject connection, hope, joy and meaning into your relationship with your spouse.
Here are three areas to evaluate with God.
Dale and Alice Rockey Married 81 years here (Courtesy CBS News)
John Stonestreet (@JBStonestreet) said, “The most significant images of marital love are only seen at the end, not the beginning of life together.” That might seem a little hard to grasp for those who’ve been recently married or have been married a handful of years. But when you stop and think about it—enduring marriages are a beautiful sight to behold. Just look at Dale and Alice Rockey in the picture above. They are each 99 years old and in 2014 they were married 81 years!
Yesterday Brad sat with a couple, Terry and Nancy. They who ran away across state lines years ago to get married when they were just 16 years old! Today, Terry says with a twinkle in his eye, “I tell my grandson (who has a girlfriend) that times were different back then.”
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhoto.net
In over 33 years of marriage and almost as many years in full-time ministry, we have learned a few things about temptation and sin: 1) None of us is above falling and failing, 2) Satan will leverage our failure to keep us down, and 3) God wants us to walk in HIS victory, not in our failures.
This has profound implications on a marriage. If a spouse is burdened by their past—whether it is recent or long ago—it affects the dynamics of the marriage. They are living with reduced hope, limited confidence, a more critical spirit, and spiritual distance from God and their spouse.
We’ve walked the journey of sin, pain, and shame. We understand—and we can write with confidence that there IS hope, there IS victory, and there IS restoration for you through Jesus Christ! Here are four things to remember when your past isn’t pure:
Image courtesy of Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When was the last time you did something for your spouse that they would never find out about? All too often when we speak, build, cook, clean, purchase, give, or initiate there can be a variety of motives behind the action. It may be simply to express our love—and perhaps to draw closer as a result of what we did. Sometimes our efforts are to get us out of some kind of trouble. Even worse, our overtures can be a ploy to manipulate our mate to do something in return that we would enjoy.
But what about doing something that your spouse never finds out about—something that is for their benefit and known only to you and God? You may come up with a variety of examples of how this could play out in your marriage. We want to suggest one idea that costs nothing and can have untold benefits for your and your spouse: