This time of year it is easy to understand people can get really focused on certain things. If there is a gift you’re buying for Christmas, you may know everywhere it is sold and what kind of deal they have. The gift and the person you’re buying it for have your attention. In fact, it might have so much of your attention you could be considered a little obsessed with it.
I know that’s the way it was for me years ago when I wanted to buy a truck. There was a particular type of truck I liked. I wanted an older Ford truck somewhere from the mid to upper 70’s model. I like the classic look of those trucks. The only thing is, where do you go to find a truck like that?￼
You look and look, and you keep looking. Everywhere you go it has your attention until you find what you’re looking for. And that’s what I did. I began to see those type of trucks everywhere, sitting in someone’s driveway, or in their backyard, in a parking lot, or driving down the road. And occasionally I would find one that was in real good condition sitting with a for sale sign on it. But the price was always more than I could pay.
But I was obsessed with finding my truck and then finally I did. I had seen it before at my friend’s shop, but he had plans to keep it for himself. Until one day I stop by his place and he decided to make me a deal. It was a good deal and the truck was exactly what I was looking for.
What has your attention
There was something I learned from that experience. When something has your attention, no matter what you do you find what you’re looking for. And even when you’re not consciously looking, it still gets your attention when it shows up.
Use this exercise.
- Stop what you’re doing for a minute or two.
- Look around you and spot everything you see that has the color red.
Now that you stopped to pay attention to what is red you have developed a red awareness. You may have seen a lot of red or you may have seen no red at all. Either way, you have now become aware of something that you probably were not aware of before.
Awareness can be a good thing, or it can be a bad thing. It all depends on how you choose to use it. When it comes to your marriage it is important that you choose to use awareness in a healthy, constructive way.
If your spouse’s imperfections get your attention, you will develop contempt and your feelings for them will fade. But if you choose to only give attention to the good things about you spouse you will hardly even notice their imperfections.
Also keep this in mind. Your perception becomes your reality. What you are aware of may not be the truth, but if you believe it to be true then it will be true to you.
One lady’s example
Years ago I read a testimony from a lady. She told the story of how she became frustrated with something her husband had been doing. Every night before they went to bed he asked her, “Did you lock the doors?” She answered, “Yes.” And then he would go through and check all the doors himself. As this routine continued night after night she felt hurt. She wondered what he must think of me. Does he think I’m too stupid to properly lock doors? Does he think I’m lying to him?
Hurt and frustrated she began to pray about it and really seek the Lord for an answer. Then the Lord spoke to her heart about how her husband was an accountant. His gift was being able to go over things and spot mistakes that no one else would notice. It was then she realized her husband’s door checking was not meant as an offense toward her, he was just operating in his primary strength.
Answer these questions
- What are you aware of about your spouse?
- Do your spouse’s imperfections have your attention?
- Can you recognize how your awareness of those things affect your emotions and attitude?
- Are you willing to retrain your thinking so that your awareness is more constructive for your marriage?
Train your thoughts
We all have the ability to train our thoughts. All of us have the ability to teach ourselves to think what we should and what we want to think. We can teach ourselves what to give our attention to. This may be a new concept for you, but this is exactly what the bible teaches us in many places, particularly Philippians 4:8
Philippians 4:8 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
That is powerful! We get to choose what we think about. We can give our attention to the things that are good, lovely, and admirable. Our thoughts and our emotions don’t have to go all over the place unchecked, running and ruining our lives for us.
Now, these final questions
- What can you admire about your spouse?
- Can you be thankful for those things?
- Will you give your spouse grace and forgiveness on the things you don’t like?
- Are you willing to stop giving your attention to the things that are hurting your marriage?
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