The Bible tells us to fix our thoughts on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” (Philippians 4:8) This outlook on life affects every aspect of our lives – including our marriages. The enemy likes to use our negative attitudes and thoughts to suck the joy out of marriages. But the good news is that we don’t have to let him.
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In the book of John, Jesus tells us that the enemy’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10)
I truly believe that the thief does most of his “killing” and “destroying” in our own minds. If he can make us feel defeated and worthless, He can render us ineffective for God. He can rob us of our rich and satisfying marriages if we let him influence our thought life.
God desires for us to be successful in our marriages. We cannot allow the enemy to creep in and steal that away.
God desires for us to be successful in our marriages. We can't let the enemy to steal that away.
Here are three negative attitudes that can (and will) destroy your marriage if you allow them to take root:
The Victim Mentality
This type of thinking leads to all sorts of issues in a marriage relationship. People with a victim mentality typically see themselves as the “victim” in their marriages, even when they are not. Yes, there are legitimate times when our spouse hurts us (we are human after all), but having a victim mentality causes us to actually live in a constant state of hurt feelings and offense. These feelings are usually accompanied by what I call the “blame game.” When you are feeling hurt and offended, it is always because of someone else.
The reason why this is so dangerous is that hurt and offense aren’t always intentional. Most people aren’t walking around wondering how they can hurt others. We can hurt someone even if we have the best of intentions. Those with a victim mentality often overlook intentions and instead focus on the result, hurt and pain. We can become easily offended by something someone said, even if they never meant to hurt us.
Those who choose to live with a victim mentality often live in a constant state of offense. They feel as if the people in their life owe them something for hurting them. They mistrust others and typically assume the worst of their intentions. These are all toxic qualities to bring to any relationship, especially a marriage.
The Bible calls us to live as victors, not victims. We are reminded time and time again in God’s Word that we all fall short. Living as a victim only harms yourself and your relationships. Don’t assume your spouse is always out to get you. Instead, surrender your hurts and offenses to God. Let Him deal with anything that needs to be dealt with in your spouse. It is not your responsibility. Keep in mind that your spouse is a work in progress, just like you are.
Using Your Spouse as a Scapegoat for Life’s Problems
Many of us find it way too easy to blame our spouse for our problems in life. Not only do we blame them, but we also use them as our punching bag when life becomes stressful. Yes, we should be able to go to our spouse and rely on them when things get tough. But on the other hand, we can’t use our stress as justification for mistreating our spouse. It’s easy to be rude or harsh to them, even when they only mean to help.
I also find in my own life that it is easy to get angry over something minor when I’m already stressed and upset about something completely unrelated. I will get frustrated and overreact in a situation that would have never normally upset me in the first place. It’s only natural to vent our frustrations to the people close to us. This negative attitude, however, can be dangerous in a marriage. We need to remember that our spouse is on our side. Voice your frustrations, but don’t use your spouse for target practice. They are there to help and encourage you through life. You shouldn’t beat them up with your frustrations.
Allowing Resentment to Take Root and Grow
I truly believe that this is the most dangerous negative attitude of all.
Christians are called to forgive because we have been forgiven an even greater debt by God. Forgiving can be difficult, but not when our focus is on how much we ourselves have been forgiven by our heavenly Father. When we forgive our spouse, we need to do so in the same way He forgave us. (Ephesians 5:25-27) When God looks at us, He sees the new creation we have become in Him. He no longer sees the sin.
So how do we avoid these negative attitudes in our marriages?
We resist the devil and surrender our thought life to Christ.
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*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Ben White at ChristianPics.co