Marriages are never easy. As compatible as you think you are with someone, at some point you will disagree. It’s at this point that you may try to seek out a way to better your marriage. You try to fight less, have “date” nights, read marriage books, and look for advice from those who have been married longer than you. But when push comes to shove, many issues within our marriage could be solved if we would simply choose to renew our thinking.
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In Christianity, we hear a lot about “renewing our minds.” In fact, I spent 31 days discussing the topic last October. As children of God, it’s important to renew our minds daily as we learn to abide in Christ. The Bible tells us that we’ve been given the mind of Christ; so essentially, renewing your mind is simply learning how to use it.
We know that renewing your mind is crucial to our Christian walk, but did you know that it can have a great impact on your everyday life? When trying to better your marriage, it’s easy to forget that our minds play a vital role.
Here are three practical ways to renew your mind and better your marriage…
- Make sure you are right with God and that your slate is clean. I know how easy it is to play the blame game when it comes to your spouse. When things are rocky, we never want to admit that it could partially (or fully) be our fault. We want it to be their fault somehow. They are the one who needs to make some changes. So if you notice that things are tense within your marriage, be certain to do a heart check on yourself first. Is your slate clean? Is there anything you could be doing to solve the situation? Take your concerns to God and allow Him to work in your heart first and foremost.
- Pray for your spouse and choose to see them the way God sees them. After you’ve taken your concerns to God, choose then to pray for your spouse. I have found that in most marriages when tension is present, both parties have issues to address. So once you’ve surrendered your part to God, begin to pray for your spouse. Ask God to allow you to see your spouse through His eyes. We often look at our spouses with a set of critical eyes, but God sees who He’s created them to be. He sees their heart and their potential. And the more we pray for our spouses, the more we see this amazing side of them.
- Embrace a servant’s heart. When two people fall in love and get married, you often hear them say things like, “I’ve never felt this way before.” “They make me happier than I’ve ever been.” “They understand me in a way no one else does.” But here’s a dose of reality: all of these statements are pretty selfish. I will be the first to admit that I said all of these things about my husband. At the time, they were true (and still are). But are any of these statements going to help my marriage during difficult times? Am I going to be able to lean on my feelings for him when I’m upset with him during a disagreement?
Nope. Ask anyone who has been married a long while, and you will find they all say the same thing. Selfishness makes for a pretty crummy marriage. It’s when we choose to put our spouse’s needs above our own that a successful marriage becomes possible. We apologize more, become better listeners, forgive each other, and serve one another in love. This doesn’t mean we become doormats, but rather we begin to realize that the marriage relationship was designed to be a partnership where both parties give 100%.
If you want to better your marriage, be sure to renew your mind daily in Christ.
The only way any of these “practical” steps are possible is by renewing your mind in Christ each and every day. It is through Him that we have the strength to serve our spouses even when we’re upset with them. And it is also through Him that we can see our spouse for his potential rather than his shortcomings.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.