If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.Colossians 3:1-2 ESV
If we are going to change our behavior and our responses in our marriages, then we need to start with our minds. This verse reminds us to set our minds on the things above, not on the things in front of you. We have to capture our thinking and make those thoughts obedient to Christ.
What is happening in front of us demands a response and often dictates our emotions. When we’re experiencing something that’s pleasing or encouraging, our response is positive and our emotions are uplifting. A wife sees her husband doing the dishes unprompted, and she feels love. A husband hears his wife sharing how proud she is of him to a friend, he feels respected. When we feel loved and respected in our marriages, we respond in kind. We choose to do something or we desire to show them our love because our experiences control our thoughts, which dictate our responses.
Likewise, when we experience something challenging, we respond adversely. A wife challenges the way her husband disciplines the kids, he feels disrespected. A husband chooses to play golf over family time again, the wife feels unloved. When we receive a difficult phone call or our spouse is grumpy, when our job is demanding or a relationship is stressful, when our children are defiant or we don’t have enough to make the mortgage payment, our thoughts turn dark. And when our thoughts have gone negative, the way we relate to our spouse changes. We are terse in our responses and we no longer consider their needs. We grow angry because they don’t seem to be bothered by what’s challenging us, and we judge their hearts because their priorities are different than ours. We push them away because our thoughts are so consuming, we just want to be left alone. If your mind is emotionally chaotic, your reaction and responses to your spouse will be influenced by those strong feelings. We simply can’t help it—our thoughts dictate how we act. We can try to put a lid on it, but it’s still going to impact our words and our responses. What’s happening in front of us controls our thoughts, and our thoughts dictate our responses.
So, we have to capture those thoughts. We have to recognize when they’re happening, and we need to stop them. As challenges land in front of us, we need to be thinking about our thinking. When the phone rings or your spouse storms through the door, think about your thinking. When you read that text or you hear those words, think about your thinking. When we feel anxious or critical thoughts creeping in, when anger or despair grab a hold of our thinking, it should be a huge red flag that we need to pause and think about our thinking.
Likewise, when our spouse seems to be struggling with dark emotions, pause and think about how their experiences are impacting their emotions, and how those thoughts are informing their actions and their words. Instead of reacting to their negativity, try exploring what happened during their day or the dominant thoughts rolling around in their heads. When you understand what is causing their responses, it becomes easier to show grace.
Above all, we need to set our minds on things above, not on the things that are in front of us. When you recognize your mind is set on the things of this earth, stop yourself. Take a minute to change your perspective to an eternal one, focus on a memory verse, open up Scripture, crank up the worship music, or fall on your knees and pray. Set your mind on things above, and your responses will be filled with the Spirit.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗