Jill: I lose my sunglasses. Every. Single. Pair.
Mark: I forget to lock the doors at night.
Jill: I’m imperfect and I am married to an imperfect human being. How we think about that imperfection makes all the difference in the world.
Mark: Some of the most important work in marriage doesn’t happen between the two of us. Some of the most important work in marriage happens between my two ears…inside my head.
Jill: What we think about our spouse, determines what we feel about our spouse. What we feel determines what we do. The mind is a powerful tool that we can use positively or negatively. How are you using your mind when it comes to your marriage?
Mark: One of the places we’ve both worked hard to change is what we’re thinking about each other. Need some encouragement to push your thoughts in the right direction? Here are five steps you can take:
- Don’t name-call. Our mind so easily accuses and labels. It’s often our human “default” model. Instead of assigning a demeaning label such as “she’s so stupid,” or “he’s such a loser,” simply say to yourself, “she’s an imperfect human being and so am I.”
- Don’t take it personal. When we make our spouse’s actions about us, we make the issue bigger than it needs to be. In fact, we often complicate it. When I (Jill) find the doors unlocked on my way to bed (after Mark has already gone to bed), I have to fight the urge to personalize it and make it about him “not protecting me.” The truth is I’m a sequential thinker and Mark’s a random thinker. As a sequential, there’s a logical routine that one goes through on the way to bed. My brain thinks that way…Mark’s brain does not.
- Believe the best. Trust in your spouse’s good intentions towards you and your marriage. This keeps the atmosphere of the marriage one of love and respect. It also keeps judgement out of your heart and mind.
- Allow for honest mistakes. If you ask your spouse to take the trash out in the evening, but you get up in the morning and find it wasn’t taken out, resist the urge to move into “martyr” mode and think that “I’m the only responsible one around here.” Don’t say to yourself, “he just doesn’t care,” but instead, “I know he’s had a lot on his mind.”
- Forgive. Get in the habit of forgiving. When two imperfect people marry, the most important tool in their toolbox is forgiveness. Forgiveness is how you handle each other’s imperfections. It’s a choice…and one we need to make often.
What about you? Are you using your mind positively or negatively in marriage?
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