Self-talk is something that we all do. You might be thinking to yourself, “That’s crazy. I don’t do that.”. Well, my friend, you just did. I do it ALL the time too. Don’t worry; it’s part of the human experience. But, we must do our very best to stay away from negative self-talk as much as possible. It not only puts us in a darker state of mind, but it is a silent marriage-killer.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
In other words, our thoughts can take root in our hearts and consequently take root in our lives. We can often BECOME our very thoughts. Therefore, we need to pay close attention to our thought life because it greatly affects the ones we love most.
The conversations we have with ourselves inside our own heads is referred to as “self talk”. We often use self talk as a coping mechanism, and this can be a positive experience. We can use it to reason through things, consider our options, pump ourselves up, remind ourselves of the truth, and many other GOOD things.
Our self-talk takes a wrong turn when we start to dwell on the negative in any situation. We may tell ourselves that we will never be able to get that job, finish that degree, lose that weight, or be the mom or dad we want to be. We can even fixate on the negative attributes of a particular person. Many times, our spouse becomes the brunt of these negative thoughts.
There will be moments when we get annoyed with our spouse. We might even have some petty negative self-talk about our spouse like,
“Why is he still wearing that hideous shirt that I thought I took to Goodwill already?”
“She is talking my ear off, and I’m seriously out of words.”
“If he leaves his dirty laundry in the bathroom one more time, I’m going to lose it!”
Sound familiar? You can insert your own details and complaints, but the bottom line is these aren’t major issues until we start generalizing things and using a lot of ALWAYS and NEVERS in our negative self-talk about our spouse. Here are 4 of those kind of thoughts that can seriously harm our marriages:
1. Things are ALWAYS so much better at home when my husband/wife isn’t there.
This is a big one, and it tends to set in when one spouse has been away for an extended amount of time.
I have several close military friends who have dealt with this firsthand. Soldiers and their spouses have to spend months and even years apart for different military trainings and tours. While one spouse is defending our freedom abroad, his/her partner is holding down the fort at home…all alone. Military spouses have to proceed as single parents when their partners are away AND cope with all the feelings that ensue. The process of the military spouse re-entering regular family life is extremely difficult and awkward. Their spousal and parental roles have to go back to normal all over again, and the spouse who was left to be at home often feels a mix of emotions.
The husband/wife at home got used to running things completely on his/her terms. They didn’t have to compromise on discipline or the family schedule. And, when things start to feel uneasy as the family is settling back into their “normal”, the spouse at home may start to think, “Man, I did a pretty good job doing it all on my own.”. This kind of self-talk will only lead to a divided, discontented household.
My sweet friend, Claire, is a military wife (among many other amazing things) and has written an awesome book that describes this experience in detail. Be sure to check out, “Mission Ready Marriage”, by clicking here.
We must remember that we NEED each other. The husband and wife BOTH have an important role to play in the family. We are better TOGETHER. For more on this, please read “The BIG Lie that Leads to a Lonely Marriage”, by clicking here.
2. My spouse would be better off without me.
This kind of negative self-talk often comes from an anxious or depressed person. As I shared in my recent post, “5 Things your ANXIOUS SPOUSE Wants You to Know”, I have had this very statement running through my mind during anxious seasons of my life. These words are toxic not only to ourselves but also to our marriage. Instead of turning our thoughts inward, we need to address whatever it is that is bothering us head on.
Why do we think our spouse would be better off without us? Is it just our anxious mind bending the truth? Have we done something that our spouse needs to know about? The truth may be hard to face sometimes, but it will always set us free from the bondage of secrecy and shame. It is always better to face the truth together than keeping it hidden inside.
3. My marriage will NEVER get better.
This statement can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if we don’t do something about it. There are a lot of little negative things we tell ourselves before our minds land on this one.
As long as BOTH the husband and the wife are completely committed to working on the marriage and moving forward in healing and strengthening the relationship, then this statement is absolutely false. If we are constantly telling ourselves that things will never get better, then in all actuality they just won’t. Why? Because we will stop trying. We must hold out hope and believe that God is still in the miracle business. He gives beauty for ashes and raises dead things to life. God CAN do this for our marriages too.
If you and your spouse are dealing with the tragic reality of an extramarital affair, I encourage to read “How to Save Your Marriage After an Affair” together.
4. I could find someone so much better for me than my spouse.
This thought is a doozy because it can lead us to start looking outside our marriages. We might feel bored or unappreciated and let our minds ponder the greater spouse options we have outside our four walls. Or, we might think everything our spouse does is annoying or never good enough.
When we allow these thoughts to take root, we mentally and emotionally “check out” of our marriage and either live in the binds of a lifeless and loveless marriage or start flirting with someone new and eventually find ourselves in a full blown affair. In either tragic scenario, we are neglecting our spouse and ourselves of a healthy, thriving marriage.
Instead of dwelling on all the things our spouse does wrong, why not focus on the things he/she does right? No one is perfect, and every couple has things in their lives that need improvement. I love the statement,
“The grass isn’t greener on the other side; you just need to water your lawn”.
Cheesy? Maybe. But, is it true? Absolutely. Let’s choose to see and dwell on the GOOD in our spouse.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share this article.
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