When we talk about marital killers, the default mode is to discuss lust and affairs, substance abuse, physical violence, busyness, poor priorities, and financial stress. Fair enough.
But there's another killer of marital happiness that gets far too little press. I want to put a spotlight on it in today's post.
Negative thinking can be catastrophic to marital happiness.
We're told in Philippians 4:8 to choose to think about positive things: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—thank about such things." The spirit behind this verse is simple—look for the blessing in the midst of the burdens so that you look at the burden in an entirely new light.
Negative-thinking people do the opposite: they find the smallest burden in the midst of any blessing and wring any possible joy out of life by saying that since life is less than perfect, life really stinks.
Joseph Sizoo, a well-known preacher in the early half of the twentieth century, calls people out on this:
"Take it in the matter of health. Many there are who carry about frail bodies. Much of the day is spent in struggling against physical weakness, until actually they come to enjoy poor health. They emphasize what they have not, rather than the measure of health they still enjoy. In so doing they only increase their own misery and that of others. Live with the health that you still have."
It can also be financial; writing shortly after the great depression, Sizoo said, "For multitudes the savings of a lifetime have been swept away. All that they have worked for in the years gone by has suddenly turned to ashes. But the pity of it is that they are forever rehearsing their adversity and reminding the world of what they no longer have. They seemingly forget that many things are still left to us: the sun still rises at its appointed time; the tides of the sea still run in ebb and flow; there is still brilliance in the stars, blue in the sky and color in the rose. Live by what you have, rather than by what you do not have."