“If I’m constantly focusing on negative things, then [with] everything that she does, I’m looking at her through that lens.”
How do we guard our marriage? Dr. Greg Smalley says it starts with guarding your thoughts. Satan can play roulette with our emotions if we let him put negative beliefs in our minds, and that can lead to a destructive pattern in your marriage.
A few years ago, Greg was working on a book, Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage. Erin was out for the night with some close friends and Greg was home with their children. After a night of bickering, stress, and frustration between the kids, Greg was ready for Erin to come home. When she came in the door, his anger flared.
Erin passed the kitchen sink and noticed it was full of dirty dishes. With frustration, she declared, “Ugh. What am I, the maid?”
Greg immediately became offended given how much work he’d done before she came home.
“Now I had, on my own, folded all the laundry, and it was like all piled up right there.”
It was a misunderstanding – but Greg shares what surprised him the most. His mind immediately started spinning with negative thoughts toward his wife.
“Look, she didn’t care about you, she’s just being selfish. She didn’t care about all the things you did do; she just cares about the thing you didn’t do.”
Greg stopped, chose to hold his anger, and asked instead what Erin meant by what she’d said. Erin was actually speaking to their children instead of to Greg. Here was her response:
“I know that you’ve been working hard; look at all the laundry you folded. And you have a book to write. They should have had this done.”
Greg shares a powerful point – we can’t forget that a Christ-centered marriage is a target for Satan. He will never miss an opportunity to divide a loving couple because of fear, pride, or selfishness.
“We have an enemy who’s putting those thoughts into our head about our spouse.”
Instead of entertaining negative thoughts about our spouse, let’s meditate instead on 1 Peter 5:8, which reads
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Greg takes a new perspective on conflicts now, and his first weapon is prayer instead of a quick retort.
“A lot of times my first thought when we get into a fight is, we’re under attack. We are literally being attacked by the evil one. And I will say that to Erin, and I will say ‘Let’s pray.’”
Key Scriptures: Malachi 2:15