We can agree that we want good communication in our Marriage right?!?!? We want to communicate lovingly, effectively and honestly in a Christian marriage. But improving communication depends on the way we understand communication and all too often we skip that step. Today we are taking a pit stop at the intersection of words and thoughts. Understanding and improving communication means understanding what happens when we leave our thoughts unchecked.
Why did I say that?
Did he really mean what he just said?
I’m just a negative person, I can’t change who I am.
If you only knew what he did, repeatedly does, will always do, you would understand why I said that.
Words – the very topic of our Marriage Communication Workshop (of which this is a free lesson)– get me into more trouble than I care to admit.
Maybe like me you’ve asked the question:
How do you stop saying what you don’t mean to say and say the things you know need to be said?
Interestingly Paul asked a similar question.
Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
The struggle to do, say and think the right things is real and has been around since the beginning. But what’s the big deal if I entertain negative thoughts about my husband? So what if I replay his latest mistake and think through all the ways I’d like to get back at him? Oh, is that just me, or do you let your thoughts linger on the negative side of things as well?
There was a time I kept a detailed list of all the things Bud had done wrong – probably since we met. I didn’t keep that list intentionally or even conscience but it reared it’s ugly head when he did or said something wrong and I began to tell him off. Do you do that?
My first reaction to his mistakes is often to read him the riot act, listing off every similar mistake he’s made with an accusation that he is thoughtless, careless, self-centered and will never change! (and yes it took Christian marriage counseling to convince me this was at the root of many of our marriage problems)
Do you think about the same things – like a broken record – day in and day out? How many of your thoughts are negative?
That’s how it was in my marriage for years. Then I began to learn about the power of our thoughts. Scientists suggest that nearly 100% of our daily thoughts are repeated thoughts from the day before. What’s more, they claim that 80-90% are negative thoughts. Say What?!?!?!?!?!
Henry David Thoreau “A single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
What happens when you think the same negative thought day in and day out?
Those negative thoughts are bound to come out of your mouth – at least that’s how it works for me.
Philosophers have noted for centuries that our thoughts affect our lives. Change your thoughts and you change your life. Want to see some more fun quotes about thoughts click here!
You may find it shocking to know how many studies show that repeated negative thinking leads to a deep pathway to those same thoughts making it difficult to change.
You read that right, negative thoughts actually rewire your brain to automatically think negatively.
What does this Negative Thought Superhighway in your brain mean for improving communication in Marriage?
If we want to change the communication in our marriage we have to accept that it begins in our thoughts. That means you no longer have license to think negative thoughts about your husband, to recount his mistakes, to brood over his insensitivity, to stew over his intentional digging to pick a fight, to linger over thoughts of a life without him as you picture a way out of a negative marriage.
Shwew that’s a lot to take in. Our thoughts matter. Jesus told us the same thing in Matthew 5:28 when he said thinking lustful thoughts was as bad as committing adultery.
James 1:14-15 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
Our thoughts can be sin. That sin affects our hearts, comes out of our mouths and destroys the path of effective communication even when the words themselves were not bad.
Barrier #3 to Effective Communication in Marriage: denying the Power of Negative thoughts
Are there Bible Verses about communication and our negative thoughts?
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Our mind is a part of this flesh that God is transforming.
Do you give Him access to your thoughts to transform? He will if you let Him in. Often I think my thoughts are not hurting anyone. The problem is… they are hurting me and they are hurting others when they come out of my mouth.
Paul in Romans 7 goes on and on about how He often does what he didn’t want to do and struggles to do what he knows he ought to do. He continues to say the flesh is weak and sinful. We will not live without sin – only one person ever did that – Jesus Christ – and He is now seated at the right hand of God.
Not that Paul is giving us permission to live in sin. No, he is saying set our minds on Christ and give the Spirit within us permission to transform us.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? …
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Maybe you don’t agree that our thoughts are sinful. Can we at least agree that allowing those negative thoughts to go unchecked – day in and day out, fortifying that Negative Thought Superhighway in your brain tunneling – are not helping Improve communication?
When negative thoughts to go unchecked – day in and day out, fortifying that Negative Thought Superhighway in your brain – they are not helping Improve communication.When negative thoughts to go unchecked - day in and day out, fortifying that Negative Thought Superhighway in your brain - are not helping Improve communication. Click To Tweet
Let’s sit here for a moment. How do we banish negative thoughts?
- It is critical that we understand the power of our thoughts -, especially negative thoughts.
- Accepting that you can no longer allow any negative thought free reign in your mind.
- The third step is simple yet so intense we often avoid it. Confession.
Confess your thought life to God, the positive thoughts, the negative thoughts and everything in-between.
Listen, He already knows all of your thoughts anyway. You will not shock God or drive Him away. But you will find forgiveness and help to change the pattern of thinking that is robbing you of Joy in your life and in your Marriage.
I want to pause a moment and beg you to be on guard.
Don’t let the enemy whisper guilt and shame about your negative thoughts of your husband. We serve a God of Grace, Mercy and Second Chances.
Don't let the enemy whisper guilt and shame about your negative thoughts of your husband. We serve a God of Grace, Mercy, and Second Chances. Click To Tweet
But we also have a very real enemy who would like to get you stuck right here. An ugly snake who would like to convince you:
- You can’t change
- You shouldn’t have to change until your husband changes
- This won’t work because nothing has worked before
Ignore that lier. Give this area to God. Listen, sweet sister, God loves you, already forgave you at the Cross, and has Victory in mind for you. You are here, reading this because God loves you and longs for change that brings victory in your life and Marriage!
Spend some time alone with God today. If talking through those negative thoughts is too intense, journal through them instead.
If you are just joining us and want to participate in the full Marriage Communication Workshop please join below and check your email for the worksheets and videos to go along with this lesson and all the rest in the series. There are prompts to help you process those negative thoughts in the workbook.
Understanding how our negative thoughts affect Communication in Marriage is only part of this formula that will create the fertile soil for the hard work of change we will get to tomorrow.
Understand the Power of Negative Thoughts + accepting that I have control of my thought life + confession of the sinful thoughts = a heart ready to change.Understand the Power of Negative Thoughts + accepting that I have control of my thought life + confession of the sinful thoughts = a heart ready to change. Click To Tweet
Tomorrow we will learn how to stop thinking negative thoughts in a relationship and see the power of positive thinking in marriage!
In conclusion – To Understand the Power of Negative Thoughts is Key for growing a healthy marriage through Effective Communication in Marriage
Today we covered the importance of communication in Christian Marriage and the importance of understanding the power of negative thoughts about our husband. Understanding this one piece of our mind will help us let God reach in and transform our mind. We discussed accepting the need for change and confessing any sin in our thoughts that are not pleasing to God. This is the Third step in the heart deep process of radical change that will fix in your Marriage – it will fix communication in Marriage. We have to learn how to fight negative thoughts and that starts with understanding.
If this is an area you are working to improve in your marriage be sure to join the Marriage Communication Workshop, download the effective communication in Marriage PDF workbook that is filled with even more Marriage Communication exercises!
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