So much about healthy relationships boils down to the attitudes that we bring to the table, and our attitudes are a direct outflow of the condition of our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Guarding your heart looks like resisting negative deposits like anger, resentment, and dishonesty, and inviting positive inputs like kindness, sacrifice, commitment, and unwavering love for your spouse. It’s filling yourself up with the word of God, surrounding yourself with wise friendships, and standing against what culture says is the standard of marriage.
A LITTLE KINDNESS CAN GO A LONG WAY
Having a good attitude is a daily, if not minute-by-minute, choice–and a powerful one at that. Changing your attitude can literally change your marriage. One of the most transformational things you can do is also simple: choose to be kind. A little bit of kindness can go a long way. It’s a choice, and it may not always feel like the right one, but our feelings are fickle and ever-changing. I’m not proposing that you never fight; in fact, at times, fighting is necessary, but it doesn’t have to leave damaging words and broken hearts in its path.
IF THIS, THEN THAT
Somewhere along the way we let in the lie that our spouse’s behavior should dictate our happiness. You can fill in your own blank: “If my spouse changes _______, then I will be happy.” This attitude will kill joy and any chance at healthy contentment in your marriage. Understanding that we are all a work in progress allows room for grace and switches your attitude from “You’d better, or else,” to, “How well can I love you, even if…” Simply put, your spouse and your marriage will never be perfect. Besides, it’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy. If you’re a Christian, your joy should come from the Lord. That attitude alone should penetrate every aspect of your life, starting with your marriage.
Let’s face it: our culture’s attitude toward marriage is destructive. Culture says marriage is all about Y-O-U. It tells you that divorce is not only easy, but a right when things simply get too hard. It exemplifies that if you’re not happy, you have a right to look elsewhere. It places little value on faithfulness or steadfastness. If you’re looking to culture to shape your attitude on marriage, you’re looking in the wrong place.
God loves marriage. It’s the only institution He created aside from His church and, because of that, He calls His followers to live by high standards. God created marriage for two to become one, and there is inherent beauty in that union. He said it is not good for man to be alone. When you view your marriage as a way to honor God and show His love, it changes everything. It is the most countercultural thing you can do. It will not only change your marriage, but if repeated and multiplied, could reshape our entire culture.
A good marriage doesn’t just happen. It is the sum total of living each day on purpose. Choosing to sow kindness, grace, love, and mercy into your relationship will reap a marriage that bears much fruit. You want to hear the best news? If you don’t like where you are right this second, you can start now. Change your attitude, change your marriage.