**Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.** Philippians 4:8
In our last two posts, worry was the central theme. Here, again in verse 8, we could also talk about worry. If we only think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and that have a good report, and things that are virtuous, and praiseworthy, that doesn’t leave us much time to worry, right?
Let’s think a little more about the kind of things we let our minds run away with that aren’t just worry but they may be borrowing trouble.
Let’s talk about bringing up the past, reliving in our minds past hurts and arguments and words and feelings. These are the things that we just can’t let go. These inner conversations may be true, they really did happen, but, maybe we’re not being quite as honest with ourselves about the details. We may feel like we are being just by constantly examining a situation, but does that show that our heart is pure? And does it promote lovely thoughts towards the person that hurt us?
Is constantly reminding our spouse or friend or family member about how they have failed in the past helping us to focus on a good report? Is this virtuous thinking? Are our words and our thoughts full of praise for God as to the outcome of the problem?
I think the answers are obvious.
Our spouse needs to know that he or she is valued, that we believe in them, that we know that they can learn and grow from the mistakes they have made. They also need to know that we do not consider ourselves infallible. If we are always pointing our finger at our spouse’s mistakes, aren’t we saying that we consider ourselves perfect and they are the ones who are flawed?
Psalm 103 tells us that **As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.** So God takes our mistakes, our sin, our shortcomings and sends them so far away that they can never be found. Are we more just than God himself? Do we live by a higher standard than a Holy God? Can’t we learn to forgive and forget just as God does?
I think we need to try.
One way that would help us to stop reliving the sins of the past of others, is to put ourselves in their shoes. Do we want our spouses to remind us of all of our past mistakes? Do we want them to remind us of how foolish we were when we were young? To tell us again and again how many times we brought our marriage to the brink of disaster?
Or would we rather have them encourage us, and to tell us what a great job we’re doing today? Don’t we want them to see the progress that we’ve made? Don’t we want them to give us a second chance or a third or a fourth? Don’t we want their love for us to be unconditional?
Of course we do.
Don’t we all want to live by the Golden Rule and others to do the same?
Luke 6 tells us **And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.**
I think we all understand that we need to make some changes. That each of us needs to learn to let go of the past and it’s pain, and we need to start working together to move forward.
So, my suggestion for today on how to have a happier marriage is to start at the end of the list and work your way backwards. Start with praising your spouse. Be real about it, don’t make things up, praise your spouse in the areas that you know that he/she have grown and improved. Then continue to work your way back up the list.
I can tell you that my husband’s countenance completely changes on the days that I praise him for all that he has learned, and how he has grown, and what are his best qualities. His countenance is completely different on the days that I criticize, harp on small things, have a quick temper and can’t seem to find one good thing to say about him.
The problem is not my husband, the problem is my own heart.
Start with praise and see if it doesn’t make some monumental change in your relationship.