Agree or disagree: Whether we're happy or not has little to do with the circumstances of our lives.
Sorry to admit that too often I said to my sweet husband who loved me--and loves me still, "You just don't understand me."
Worse yet, I often thought and sometimes said (yelled?) to our young, impressionable children, "You're driving me crazy!"
Oh sure, I apologized. Profusely. But that doesn't erase the memory and sound of hurtful words.
A simple quote opened my eyes
Then I came across these lines which spoke to me and startled my thinking:
Two men looked out through prison bars. One saw mud. The other saw stars.
I wanted to remember this rhyme so I placed it at eye level where I couldn't ignore it.
At first I thought, What expressive writing! Lots of wisdom in a few words.
After awhile I woke up to a deeper meaning, that any of us can focus on what lifts us up or drags us down.
That meant me, too.
I couldn't escape truth that made me cringe. That's when I understood deep down that no one else makes me feel anything. My moods were a do-it-yourself job. Totally.
Any time, any place, I choose whether I see mud or stars. I choose!
Anytime I allowed a situation or someone's words to "make" me mad, sad or depressed, I put myself behind bars because I surrendered control of my emotions.
Where we look and what we think colors every facet of our lives
Whether we see the best of life or the worst of life--and people--depends on where we fasten our attention.
Do we believe our marriage relationship is strong? Do we think we have "good kids?" Do others treat us kindly?
It all depends. Will we see the stars or the mud? (Trust me, everybody's life has some of each.)
Without any conscious effort we run a continuous sound track in our minds:
- Why doesn't he . . . ?
- Why won't she . . . ?
- Why must he always . . . ?
- Will that woman ever get it through her head that . . . ?
If that's the tune we're playing, a line of complaints will be sure to follow:
- If he loved me he would . . . .
- If she cared she wouldn't . . . .
- He knows that drives me crazy!
- She did that on purpose, like she always does!
We do this with our jobs, our bosses and co-workers, our neighbors, our child's teacher and everyone else.
My grandmother would have said, "You're just thinking yourself into a tizzy. Cut it out!
"No thought that starts like that will lead to anything good."
What helps break down old thought patterns?
Trying to transform ourselves and our thinking can be like trekking a long road to nowhere.
I believe there's only one sure way to peace of heart and mind: Whatever the mess in your life, lay it at the foot of Jesus Christ's cross. He lived and died and rose again so you and I can be new:
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! --2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
Reading the Bible, God's written word, and prayer--talking to God--helps develop our spiritual muscle and substitutes new background music for our days.
We can grow a stronger marriage by teasing out time from each day to focus on each other and read the Bible together. Even better is to pray aloud together. (No profound language needed, just honest words from the heart.)
I know this sounds a bit scary, yet this simple practice will nurture your relationship and draw you together more than you can imagine. Hearing your husband (or wife) pray for you helps heal old wounds and gives each of you new eyes of understanding.
How do I know? The usual way.