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14 Powerful Ways to Change Negative Thinking in Marriage

Since we understand that our thoughts become words that become actions, we need to make a change. But just the word change gets anxious and I instinctively resist.  When we understand the power of our negative thinking we must begin the hard work to change the patterns that make it our default in marriage. Today we will learn how to do this effectively!

Hope To Change Negative Thinking

Before we start digging into what the Bible says about negative thinking, I want to pause and give you hope. 

You have the power to change your thinking. It is possible to improve communication in your Christian marriage. God didn’t make you a negative person, sin and a fallen world did. That is good news because it means that God can help you learn a new way of thinking!

How? Let me quickly give you a list to keep us on track today:

  1. Understand Negative Thinking Disorder
  2. Positive Neuroplasticity
  3. Know what the Bible says
  4. Know that positive thinking is not enough
  5. Pay attention to thoughts
  6. Examine each thought
  7. Punish negative thoughts
  8. Fight the enemy
  9. Claim Scripture over thoughts
  10. Remember who the enemy is
  11. Remember you have powerful weapons
  12. Create a castle
  13. Take captives
  14. Know the benefits
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What is The Main Cause of Negative Thinking?

What causes negative thinking? Negative thinking causes more negative thoughts. We learned about that last week (go back and read it ~> Thoughts Become Words in Marriage: How to Understand).

Alright so you have spent years allowing your thoughts to run wild; daydreaming of a different life, imagining revenge, tallying every mistake your husband has made.  Or is that just me (see my negative thinking examples below)?

  • He calls from work to complain about his boss and I brood over every job he’s quit for no good reason with no fallback.
  • The internet browser shows he’s spent hours on his gaming sites while I am slaving away cleaning the house, and feeding his kids, exhausted and angry that he’s not helping more.
  • I am picking up wet towels off the hardwood floor, fuming over the damage it has done and the number of times I’ve begged him to shoot 2 feet further to get the towel into the basket.
When you begin to deny your negative thinking and focus on godly thoughts consistently – intentionally – you will destroy that Negative Thought Superhighway and create a new path to positive, praising thoughts. Share on X

Negative Thinking Pattern

Brooding over negative thoughts for so many years has created a Negative Thought Superhighway in my brain.  I am literally teaching myself to automatically respond to the next situation negatively.  

Oh, but let’s be clear, our brain is very smart, it knows those negative about our husband and our marriage specifically. It knows how to get from point A to point B quickly and thinks it is helping us by creating negative thinking patterns!

Do you want to think negative thoughts and feel miserable about your husband and marriage for the rest of your life?

“Today is a good day to be a negative person and feel miserable about my marriage”, said no wife ever! No, we want to begin breaking negative thinking patterns! But how do we break negative thought patterns in real life?

The Marriage Communication Workshop Can Help

Have you joined the Marriage Communication Workshop?  This is a lesson from it.  If so, on day 3 you took the first step toward real change in your marriage:

  1. You now understand the power of those unchecked negative thoughts
  2. You have accepted that we can’t let negative thoughts run wild.
  3. Lastly, you’ve spent some face time with God to confess them.

You did spend that time working through session three’s homework, didn’t you?  If so, you are ready to do Spiritual battle today to change.  If not…  take the time to work through it – no lasting change will happen unless you do.  I mean, you can finish the entire workshop and apply the principles, but if you don’t let this go heart deep it won’t last.

Marriage Communication Class Online, marriage communication workshop, marriage communication exercises to improve communication #MarriageCommunication #MarriageAdvice Christian Marriage advice, Marriage advice, #hopejoyinchrist

How To Change Negative Thinking in Marriage?

If you didn’t know, I am a word nerd and strange science words totally geek me out.  When I saw this a few years ago it just stuck. I thought you’d get a kick out of it too.

Remember yesterday we talked about the science behind the Negative Thought Superhighway in our brain?  That continuous negative thinking leads to automatic negative thoughts.  There is a branch of psychiatry that attempts to redirect that highway.  One single connecting thread throughout the research is the power of changing our negative thinking through Positive Neuroplasticity – see more about it from Deann Ware, Ph.D.

1. Understand Negative Thinking Disorder

Here’s the thing, continually fixating on negative thoughts hurts you over time. Negative thinking disorder symptoms include depression and anxiety. There are harmful effects to relationships, not to mention the effects of negative thinking on the body. High blood pressure, heart disease, tension and stress-induced pain, fatigue and more accompany this struggle.

The effects of this habit or pattern of thinking are serious. We must learn how to stop negative thinking!

2. Positive Neuroplasticity

But how? How do we begin breaking the negative thinking patterns?

Not to oversimplify the process of Positive Neuroplasticity, but it involves being thankful and looking back on each day to pick out positive thoughts to focus on as you drift to sleep. 

This process is thought of as harnessing the power of positive thinking.  A Gratitude journal can be a powerful tool for breaking the focus on negative things to begin to see the positive things in your life.   

Okay so that is oversimplifying it, but you get the idea.

3. Know What The Bible Says About Negative and Positive Thinking

As Christians, we know God tells us to give thanks always and keep our minds fixed on things above.  Don’t you love it when science parrots back the tenants of our faith?  These are two of my favorite marriage scriptures about our thoughts!

“always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Ephesians 5:20  NASB)

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2 NASB)

What does the Bible say about our thoughts, negative or positive thinking? Give thanks and fight the negative by keeping your mind fixed on God and the things of heaven.

How Do I Stop Thinking Negatively?

What causes negative thinking?

There are just too many hard things to work through in some seasons. Daily unintentional hurts through selfishness or carelessness as well as intentional hurts that build up causing us to feel hopeless. Before you know it, negative thinking has slipped in and those patterns which create the negative thoughts superhighway are already in place!

It is not enough to understand the problem and try hard to keep our eyes on Christ. Surprised to hear me say that? The power of negative thinking is strong and it will require a real action plan on our part to break.

Your negative belief systems may already have grown into mental health conditions.  I know mine morphed into two anxiety disorders before I was an adult.  Even with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and professional help, I was still stuck in a cycle of emotional reasoning.  Negative events just kept coming into my daily life bringing unwanted thoughts I couldn’t seem to overcome!

4. Know That Positive Thinking Is Not Enough

Change is possible, don’t misunderstand me, but it depends on much more than positive thinking.  We have to move past understanding why negative thoughts come to mind.

To change this, we must be proactive to capture or stop negative thoughts (or the negative way we process difficult circumstances) as they sneak in and destroy them. 

We have to set up some negative thinking traps to capture them and change them. Imagine a giant bulldozer that is going to destroy that nasty Superhighway.  That’s what we need to get to the other side of negative thinking and the mental health issues that follow it. Let’s do this!

How To Improve Communication in a Christian Marriage Change negative thinking about my husband. Think Positively. This is session one in the marriage communication workshop where couples will learn marriage communication tips be guided through communication exercise, given tools to help with better communication. Wives will learn to improve intimacy while keeping their voice and stop feeling like a door mat in marriage.

5. Pay Attention To Your Thoughts

To change your automatic thoughts of bad things and good things alike, you need to pay attention. What does that mean? You have to recognize the four types of negative thoughts that are most common to human beings as they come into your thoughts.

What are the 4 Types of Negative Thinking?

  1. Personal
  2. Filtered
  3. Catastrophe
  4. Polarized

Personal means that you take everything very personally and turn conversations or actions around to be negative toward yourself.

Filtered means that you focus on only the negative aspects of something while leaving out all the positive. It happens when a conversation or situation you are thinking about seems 100% negative.

Catastrophe means you immediately jump to the worst-case scenario or give a negative label no matter what is being discussed or what is happening around you.

Polarized means that you are thinking in black and white. It is all or nothing. Either something is all good or all bad. There is no middle ground and no other perspective could fit the situation or conversation.

No more daydreaming, allowing negative thoughts to linger, permitting impure thoughts or anything else to take up space in your mind without going through a test.  We’ll come back to the test in a second.

Exercises to Stop Negative Thinking

Would you work through an exercise to stop negative thinking with me today? Think of this as a mental filter to create new habits for you to see life in a more healthy way.

Are you a visual person?  Picture your mind as a house, maybe a castle with stone walls and countless rooms.  Each room represents a different kind of thought you might have.

My thought rooms would be labeled:

  • Disney theme songs
  • Autism resources
  • Breathing techniques for anxiety
  • Creative discipline ideas for kids
  • Homeschool curriculum (don’t peek inside that one it’s always a mess of construction paper and empty tape dispensers)
  • Prayer meeting ideas
  • Downton Abbey daydreams
  • Book ideas
  • Gardening plans
  • A list of things to be fixed around the house
  • When Calls the Heart Fantasy’s
  • Worship music
  • A running tally of where every earthly possession is located
  • Old sermon notes I’ll never look at again
  • Blogging tech knowledge
  • Graphic design ideas
  • Sex things I’m too afraid to talk to him about
  • Revenge ideas
  • PTSD – please dear God don’t open that door

Your turn. What kind of thoughts occupy your mind and time?

6. Examine The Thoughts

Do you have room for plotting what you will say when your husband comes home and does xyz again?

Are there cubicles along the wall for a well-placed scowl and nag? 

This is a safe space.  Be real about your mind.  No judgment. Just grace and practical marriage tools. 

You’ve heard of setting boundaries in marriage, I think of this as setting boundaries in our thoughts to change the negative view you jump to most often when you have negative thoughts about your spouse.

Then you need practical ways to switch the most common negative patterns in your thought processes about your spouse!  

7. Punish The Negative Thoughts

I picture a dungeon in my castle.  The dungeon is accessible from anywhere inside or outside along the grounds. 

Can you picture it?  Damp and dark, barred and inescapable.  Hold onto that picture now.

There is a very real enemy desperate to destroy your marriage.  Well, he’d settle for destroying any chance you have a victory in Christ but he intentionally sets his sights on a Christian marriage.

8. Fight The Enemy of Your Thoughts

The enemy wants to destroy your Christian marriage.  Why does he want to destroy Christian marriage?

Well, if he can bring down your marriage he can distort the picture of God and the message of the Gospel.  You see God uses marriage as a metaphor for the Body of Christ.  He sets Himself as the Husband and the church as His bride.

Divorce taints that picture.  The enemy absolutely wants to put a rift between you and your husband. He wants to destroy or at least create distance in your communication so you are more willing to give up hope in your relationship.

But God was not naive to the schemes of the enemy.  God gave us a way to fight back in this Spiritual war!  Yeah baby, let’s put on our Spiritual armor and fight in the battle!

9. Claim Scripture On Fighting Negative Thinking: Critical Thoughts

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NASB)

Just like our exercise to fight negative thinking, the Scriptures tell us we can stop this pattern. Look at the bolded pieces.

  1. We have weapons to fight negative thoughts – more on that in a moment.
  2. Destruction of fortresses could be understood in our context as destroying the negative thoughts superhighway!
  3. How? Examine every thought or take them captive.
  4. Then punishing them or sending them to the dungeon so we are not actively thinking about them.

What Does God Say About Stopping Negative Thoughts

It feels like we need to take a moment and break down 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 as this one passage sets us up to fight negative thinking in a real and practical way! It says we have the power to overcome any thinking that is not in line with God’s perfect will.

How can we stop every negative or sinful thought?

10. Remember Who The Real Enemy is

First, God tells us to remember who the real enemy is.

The real enemy is NOT your husband.  It feels like it sometimes, but he is not your enemy.  That man is your partner in life. If there is a wedge between you or a lack of real intimacy in your communication look past him to that invisible snake  in the background prompting your emotional reaction.

And be encouraged that God has given you real weapons to fight the real enemy!

Related Post: How to Identify and Overcome the Attack of the Enemy in Your Home

11. You Have Powerful Weapons

Second, God tells us that the weapons He gives us are powerful!  Thank you, Jesus, because the thoughts are powerful and feel!!!!!!!

What can our spiritual weapons do in a powerful way for our negative thoughts about our husband and marriage or any other family member?

  • Destroy fortresses

    • Does the enemy have a foot slipped into your life or your husband that will allow sin and destruction in?
    • Is there an all-out stronghold of sin in either of your lives?
      • You can destroy it!
  • Destroy speculations

    • Do you speculate about things?
      • Imagine it, plot out what to say when he does xyz, and picture the scene when he repeats xyz.
    • That speculation is a part of the negative thoughts we’ve been discussing or negative feelings.
      • Negative thoughts lead to a negative attitude which leads to negative feelings or negative emotions, even depressive symptoms, and immune system problems.
      • Those negative thoughts will lead to a lack of communication in marriage.
      • You can destroy them!
  • Take down every lofting thing that goes against the knowledge of God.

    • Are some of those thoughts flat-out sinful?
      • You don’t have to keep living in that pattern.
        • God has given you a weapon to take control back of your thought life!
  • And just to clarify – he says we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  Every Thought.
    • And while we take them captive we will punish them.

The Power of God Living Inside You

Okay, I hear you, what is this powerful weapon? The power of God living inside you. You may think of it as the grace of God. In fact, a quote on negative thinking says, “But for the grace of God…”

You have access to all the power of God and every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places… if you have made the decision to surrender to and follow Jesus Christ and allow him to be the Lord of your life.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-6 NASB)

Sound too good to be true.  Try it and see how good God is… how kind, loving, and generous.  It will change your life.

Relate Post: How to Win the Battle for Your Mind

12. The Castle Exercise

Do you still have that castle pictured?

Your mind is a fortress that you can defend with these powerful tools. But to do so, you must start listening to every thought. 

Take each and every thought through a test. (The test I use is Philippians 4:8 where Paul tells us what thoughts are godly and lead to peace of mind). The process of testing the thoughts is something we’ve talked about before.  Be sure to read through it and start using it today.  This is how to win the battle for your mind.

Related Post: The Test I Use is Philippians 4:8 To Improve Communication in a Christian Marriage

13. Take Captive Sinful Negative Thoughts and Correct Them

I hope you read through the Philippians 4:8 test. If a thought fails the test and is disobedient to God throw it into the dungeon. 

What thoughts are disobedient?

The negative thoughts that are the opposite of Scripture about how to think. They have a negative impact on your mental health, as well as on communication in marriage. 

“Finally, brethren, whatever is truewhatever is honorablewhatever is justwhatever is purewhatever is lovelywhatever is of good reputeif there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NASB).

Lock those untrue, dishonoring, unjust, impure, unlovely, gossipy, un excellent, and unpraiseworthy thoughts up and never allow them back out to dwell in your mind.  You have the power through the grace of God living within you.

An Example of Philippians 4:8 Thinking

There was a season when I was lost in negative thinking. I was sure the mental health disorders I had been labeled with would forever be my mental habit. 

The examples of negative thoughts of depression in my life were countless. I was sure nothing could change, no one cared, and I was helpless to shift the atmosphere to more positive experiences, and a more positive outlook.

Then I began to take every thought captive. I began to replace my negative thinking… not with positive thinking, but with Philippians 4:8 thinking. Let me give you an example.

My marriage was doomed to fail and I was just too unlovable to motivate my husband to want change I shifted them.

A positive thought might have said God loves me and God is fighting for me so I should not wallow in depression and hopelessness. That’s nice, except it doesn’t address the real things in my real situation.

Our marriage was failing. My husband had refused to own any part of it or work toward change. Those were real and they hurt.

Philippians 4:8 Challenged Me

Yes, Philippians 4:8 challenged me to go deeper than positive thinking and address the roots of the problem.

  1. Is it true that our marriage was doomed? No, no one can predict the future and God is on our side so we could change.
  2. Was I being honorable to blame it all on my husband? No, I was part of the problem.
  3. Was it just to think in those ways? No, It was too black and white. He wasn’t working on things that I could see, but there was way more beneath the surface.
  4. Had I been pure in my thoughts? Yes, there was nothing immoral in them.
  5. Were my thoughts lovely? No, I was not seeing anything good.
  6. Had I focused on what was respectable? No, I had pitted my husband as the villain and refused to see anything good in him.
  7. Was there anything excellent? No, I wasn’t giving credit to God for what change had already happened or trusting Him for any more change.
  8. Was there anything praiseworthy? No, Nothing in my thoughts gave praise to the Lord.

14. Know The Benefits of Philippians 4:8 Thinking

So in that season, I switched my thinking. Instead of thinking in black and white (polarized negative thinking) I began to swap the negative thoughts for godly thoughts. The thoughts began to look this way.

  1. Right now our marriage is bad but it is much better than it used to be.
  2. My husband is doing the best he can but he does want better.
  3. This hurts right now, but God can heal the pain and change us both.
  4. Avoid intimate relationships with other men so there is no temptation.
  5. My husband is working and loving our children and supporting me… see His good side.
  6. We are both doing things right and wrong in our marriage. I can start the change and trust God to motivate my husband.
  7. There are excellent things in our home and love life.
  8. God has done great work to change us both, focus there and praise Him for His faithfulness while trusting Him to keep working.

When you begin to deny your negative thoughts and focus on godly thoughts consistently – intentionally – you will destroy that Negative Thought Superhighway and create a new path to positive, praising thoughts. It has breathed life into our marriage.

Now from time to time, negativity will try to poke its foot out and tempt me to linger there. But only have to take one step back toward God’s power to lock it back up and get back on track.

The benefit has been that we are communicating better and growing in intimacy.

How To Stop Negative Thinking To Improve Communication In Marriage With 14 Powerful Steps

These exercises to stop negative thinking require a commitment from us beyond the common cognitive behavior therapy the world uses.

We, as Christians, have to be intentional to take every thought captive and examine them. If we want to change communication and intimacy in marriage we have to shut down that negative thought superhighway.

How do we stop negative thinking then?

  1. Understand Negative Thinking
  2. Try Positive Neuroplasticity
  3. Know what the Bible says about our thoughts
  4. Know that positive thinking is not enough
  5. Pay attention to thoughts
  6. Examine each thought
  7. Punish negative thoughts
  8. Fight the enemy with Philippians 4:8
  9. Claim Scripture over thoughts
  10. Remember who the enemy is
  11. Remember you have powerful weapons
  12. Create a castle
  13. Take captives
  14. Know the benefits

Will you be intentional? Will you stop those negative thoughts? Can I pray for you as you do this challenging work?

In HIS love,

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Tiffany Montgomery

Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children.  Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.

14 thoughts to “14 Powerful Ways to Change Negative Thinking in Marriage”

  1. Once again, you hit the nail on the head with many wives, I’m sure of it! We can (sometimes) control ourselves, but rarely control our husbands, and have to find other ways to have a great marriage than to nag our husbands to be the man we think they should be. I had to work on my thinking as well, and without the Holy Spirit I have no idea where I would be right now, but He has made all the difference in how I deal with things that bother me. God bless you!

  2. This is so good! Taming my tongue is something God has really been speaking to me lately and this gave me so many great tips to help my journey.

  3. This is so true. I have so many different things I have to juggle in my mind including ministry, family and business. I enjoyed how you listed some of yours. I have been doing a lot of learning on our thoughts and how we tend to think the same things and the grooves become deeper. How important for us to let Christ transform our thoughts with scripture. Blessings, Amy

  4. I think we have forgotten how to be thankful for the simple things in life. So very important to re learn to see the positive in our days, specially our husbands who we tend to take for granted without even realizing.

  5. There is so much truth in this post. After my husband’s disability after his surgery I learned a lot about my selfish self and since then I have looked at life as half full cup rather than half empty. Negativity breeds negativity and it was a place I could no longer go in order to have peace from the Lord. Joy isn’t dependent upon my circumstances it is dependent on my relationship with Jesus. Thank You for your wisdom!

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