We’ve all heard of self-talk, but allow me to introduce a different kind of internal narrative that can be just as negative as your self-talk. It is the internal talk about your spouse!
The things you say, whether out loud or in your head, greatly influence the way you feel and act. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death“. In other words, when your inner spouse-talk is constantly pointing out your husband’s flaws or rehearsing the past ways he’s let you down…your words reinforce a negative attitude and behavior toward your husband. If not corrected, this negative attitude and behavior on your part can eventually lead to prolonged bitterness, depression, and even the death of your marriage.
Ladies, we must do what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5…”take every thought captive“. Start noticing the things you are saying in your head about your husband. If a negative thought enters your mind, don’t give it room! Instead, look for something positive to say about your husband. He DOES have some positive qualities. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying your should ignore major sin in your husband’s life. You might need to ask him to make serious changes if he’s short-tempered or looking at porn or sitting around playing video games while you work your tush off. What I am saying is that we need to strive to look for the good in our husbands too. Make sure you spend more time engaging in positive inner spouse-talk than the negative kind!
Don’t you sometimes wish you could silence the voices in your head? You may hear the voice that runs you down and reminds you of your failures…or conversely, you may hear a voice that tells you your husband is a loser and you’re doomed to a life of misery. Either kind of thought is from the pit of hell!
We MUST examine every thought rolling around in our heads and determine whether it’s true or whether it’s a twisting of the truth that’s inspired by Satan. Remember, Satan’s mission is “to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). He wants to slowly crush you with the weight of his lies about your value, your future and your husband.
2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to “take every thought captive” and we really need to do that. The next time a self-deprecating thought enters your mind, stop and ask God if this is really true. (I bet it won’t be!) The next time a hopeless thought enters your mind, ask God if it’s true. (I know it won’t be!). The next time you have the thought that your husband is beyond redemption, ask God if that’s true. (Absolutely not!). It’s time we stopped believing every thought that pops into our minds! We must intentionally pause and ask God whether that thought is true or from the devil. Here’s a simple, but hugely clarifying, question to ask yourself in that moment: “Does this sound like something God would say?”
We all go through challenging days in our marriages and in our lives in general. It’s at those times; we tend to feel so alone. We desperately need to know that God notices our distress. We need to know that He is with us and that He cares.
Well, despite what Satan is whispering in your ear…that nobody cares…that you’re all alone…that your broken heart will never get better…the Bible tells a different story! I find so much comfort in these verses:
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18)
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13)
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Psalm 103:2-4
After many years of listening to couples in distress, I’ve learned something really interesting. There often seems to be a tendency for one or both spouses to make negative assumptions about the motivations of their mate or to jump to the most negative conclusions during communication!
I believe both these tendencies are instigated by the devil who would like nothing more than to get you to think negative, unflattering thoughts about your husband. The devil WANTS you to jump to the most negative conclusions about your husband. The devil WANTS you to misunderstand what your husband is saying so that you will be hurt, frustrated and anxious.
The first step in fighting against this tendency is to realize what the enemy is up to! We must be alert to his tactics. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Applying this verse in our marital communication means that we continually check ourselves to see if we’ve started jumping to negative conclusions and assigning negative motives to our spouse.
Secondly, if we notice that we are reaching a negative assumption during communication, we ask for clarification from our spouse! We don’t just start internally grumbling inside about what a jerk our husband is. We don’t verbally attack them for being a horrible person. We actually pause and ask them to clarify what they meant when they said ___________. Sometimes it’s not even the words that were said but the facial expression or tone of voice. Again, ask for clarification. You might say something like, “When you said that, I felt like you were letting me know that I’m not a good mother. Is that what you meant to say?”
Thirdly, we must start training our minds to assume the most gracious motivations of our spouse instead of the worst! It’s so easy to jump to negative motivations though, isn’t it? Your husband forgets to do a task you asked him to do, and you mumble “He doesn’t care about anyone but himself”. Your husband struggles with pornography, and you mumble “He’s a disgusting person who would instantly stop looking at porn if he really loved me”. However, both these events could be framed in our minds completely differently! When he forgot to do the task, you could say to yourself “I know he didn’t intend to forget. I bet he got busy.” When you caught him looking at porn, you could say to yourself “I know he doesn’t intend to hurt me. He probably has an actual addiction and needs help.”
Let’s be proactive in examining our thoughts ladies! 2 Corinthians 10:5 take every thought captive to obey Christ