Think about your spouse. What was the first thing that came to your mind? Was it positive or negative? If you were doing an audit of your overall “spouse thoughts,” would they tend to be good thoughts or critical?
Does your mind ever drift to wondering what life might be like without your spouse? Have you wondered what it would have been like if you had married ________? Do you look to books, magazine, porn, movies, TV shows for romantic or sexual fantasy? Do you struggle with thoughts of anger, entitlement, or bitterness?
The thoughts we dwell on have a direct effect on the vitality of our marriage. When we choose to think positively of our spouse, our demeanor is positive and our desire for them is strong. If we allow negative thoughts to reside in our mind, then those thoughts will seep into our words, attitudes and actions.
The writer of Proverbs said, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). In the culture of the writer, the heart was the center of a person’s mind and emotions. The point is clear: if you don’t protect your mind you will slowly die inside. Even worse, you may unintentionally damage those you love as well.
As a husband or wife our responsibility to our spouse is to protect our mind from thoughts that can hurt our marriage. While the world increasingly dilutes and derides the sanctity of marriage, we have to stand guard over our thoughts and fight for right thinking. The Apostle Paul wrote: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2a).
Here are five ways to protect your mind and maintain right thinking:
1. Choose to honor God in your mind.
This is an act of YOUR will. Tell God that you want your thoughts to be pleasing to Him. The battle for good thinking may be tough at the outset (you can do it!), but over time it will become easier.
2. Take your bad thoughts captive.
When negative thoughts begin to invade your mind, reject them. Simply say, “I refuse to allow that thought to remain in my mind. It has no place there!” Then replace that thought immediately. Say a prayer to God listing out all of the positive qualities of your spouse and thank Him for them.
3. Evaluate your thoughts.
Sometimes the accusations we drum up in our mind against our spouse aren’t even accurate but we allow them to play out and take residence in our thoughts. So ask yourself: Is this REALLY true? Is this thought helpful to our marriage? If it isn’t, then quickly dismiss it and replace it with the good in your mate.
4. Assume the best.
When we assume the worst we assign blame when it may not be valid. This puts our mate on the defensive and creates barriers. When we assume the best we are actually infusing our marriage with trust. As a result, over time, our marriage grows more intimate.
5. Guard against spiritual attacks.
Satan will do all he can to throw untrue or impure thoughts at you. Stand firm! When you sense an attack, rebuke the devil. Simply say, “In the NAME and POWER of Jesus I command you to leave me.” And he must.
When you choose to protect your mind, you are choosing to protect your marriage. And when you are faithful with your thoughts, God will pour His blessing onto you as you Build Your Marriage.