To change my marriage from the way it once was, I have spent a great deal of time working on my thoughts and feelings. The key to learning not to let my feelings make decisions for me was to learn to rely on my thoughts.
Unfortunately, my thoughts weren’t much help at first. I thought my husband and I were in competition with each other. I thought his job as my husband was to make me happy. I thought that if we really loved each other, everything else would just hold together without any effort.
Between the influence of the world, the consequences of my own sins, and a weak understanding of God’s desire for marriage, my thoughts worked against my marriage, not for it.
In order to make real change in my marriage, I had to be intentional about changing my thoughts.
How can you change your thoughts?
What we think affects our actions, our attitudes, and our feelings. In many posts here, I’ve encouraged you to become more aware of your own thoughts and to challenge the ones that reflect human sin and selfishness rather than God’s Word.
Thoughts matter, my friends.
If you want to change your marriage, a great place to start is with yourself and what you choose to think.
In the introduction to her recent book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage (affiliate link), Sheila Wray Gregoire says something that is simple and important:
God made us responsible for our own actions, our own thoughts, and our own feelings. No one else can do that work for us.
When I first began to read Sheila’s book, I expected it to be good, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to relate to it much. She and I came to our marriages with very different sets of experiences, and I wasn’t sure I would connect with what she wrote.
Wow, was I wrong about that! Sheila’s transparency with her feelings resonated deeply with me. I found myself nodding my head in understanding many times as I thought about what I have experienced in my own marriage. I didn’t expect that.
And here’s another thing I didn’t expect: her book challenged me. As much as I have worked on my thoughts over the past five years, I still struggle with some of the things she writes about.
It’s a book that both validates my journey so far and challenges me to keep going on it.
Each chapter of Sheila’s book focuses on one thought that can help change your marriage. Even more, each chapter gives us action steps. She shares her experiences and challenges us to think—and gives us tangible things to do to help us learn to incorporate each of the thoughts into our lives.
Some of the steps are things I’ve already done and have made a difference in my marriage. Other steps, however, are areas where I still need to do some work.
It is a book that will help me grow–so I have decided to work my way through the book in the coming months and apply her suggestions in my marriage.
Join me on the journey!
I invite you to come alongside me in working through the book.
Starting in early February, I will write a post every few weeks about one of the chapters. I’ll share both my struggles and my successes in applying the action steps in my own marriage. You are invited to share your experiences as well as you read and try out the action steps for yourself.
We can encourage each other as we work to change our marriages, whether we are just at the beginning our efforts to make changes or have already seen good growth in our marriages. Wherever we are, we can help each other along the way.
In addition to my posts every few weeks, I’ll have a separate area of my site for more detailed sharing, encouragement, and community. (The fact that I throw open a window into my marriage doesn’t mean you all want to do that!)
Here’s how you can participate:
- Get the book. You can find it at Amazon (affiliate link) or by using one of the links on Sheila’s page.
- Sign up. Let me know you’ll be participating by filling out the form below. I will use this to invite you to a password-protected section of my site as well as send you occasional emails to encourage you as you work through the book. Anyone can still read the posts here and follow along, but only women who have signed up will have access to the protected discussion area.
- Start reading! I’ll post again next week with a preview of what we should be working on with the first chapter, but you can spend some time getting familiar with the book before then.
Wait, there’s more!
We often feel alone in our feelings of being stuck in our marriages–but there are so many who have felt this way.
There are also many of us who have already traveled this journey of getting unstuck–including Sheila herself. She has these words of encouragement for you:
I’m so thrilled that Chris has decided to take this journey with my book–to look at each new “Thought”, but then, most importantly, to actually start living that thought out by DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
I was stuck in my marriage for a long time, because I believed some things that sounded right, but really weren’t. And the simple truth is that a lot of what we believe about marriage is just plain wrong. The church doesn’t always teach it well, either.
I had to go through a period in my marriage where I realized that I was wallowing. I’d point to verses that said, “God is close to the brokenhearted”, and I’d feel so affirmed in my wallowing! But it didn’t make my marriage better. It made my marriage worse.
And so I had to climb out of the pit by doing little things, day by day, that affirmed real truths. And it’s so much better.
I’m excited to take this journey with you all, and I wish you all the best as you start rejecting the lies and embracing the truth.
Sheila has graciously agreed to let me give away two copies of her book to readers. Woo-hoo!
To enter the giveaway, comment on this post with something you would like to work on in your marriage. Comment by noon US central time on Friday, January 15. Random winners will be chosen at that time.
Winners have been selected and will be announced in the next post. You can still sign up to participate!
Do you want to continue growing in your marriage?
Are you ready to join me on the journey as we work on our actions, thoughts, and feelings to create the change we want to embrace in our marriages?
Sign up for the journey here:
(I will use your email address only to communicate about this book study. At any time that you want to stop receiving emails from me, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask.)