On the steps of an ancient basilica, I sat beside a young wife married less than a hand full of fingers, compared to my 20+. Things of marriage are among those "common concerns" that cross cultures. As we talked over challenges of two living as one, my friend asked, "How do you start thinking the right things about your husband when you realize you've been thinking the wrong things?" Good question. In my heart and mind I prayed for the Lord's direction and waited a moment. Philippians 4:8 ... the litmus test of how to evaluate our thoughts came to mind.
Turning towards a nearby cafe, I told her that if we were dieting, we wouldn't go sit at a table in front of a bakery window. Instead, we would get up and leave the temptation and fill the need for nourishment with something better, something good. In the same way, when we are convicted about thinking wrong thoughts about our husband, we need to turn from those things and concentrate on new 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—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
I encouraged her to write out this scripture in a prayer journal, as a guide, along with a confession of her wrong thoughts and a list of what is true and noble and right and pure, etc about her hubby. (I should've known that after giving this advice, I was setting myself up for 1st hand application!)
my hubby suggested we head to the other side of the river .... to the top of the castle hill ... to find lunch there. It didn't look far, and I was sure we would find water on the way. We started our trek ... across the streets ... to the docks ... to the boat ... down the river ... across the streets ... up the hill .... up the hill .... up the hill .... (WHY do castles have to be at the top of hills, anyways?) ... over more ancient cobblestones than my feet care to remember.
By this time I was sure I would faint from dehydration and have my obituary written in a foreign language, and no one back home would ever know I died because no one would stop to buy a bottle of water. :) My "hints" like, "O look - that shop sells drinks" fell on deaf ears, and we persisted up the hill. Gone were my thoughts of Philippians 4:8, and grumblings muttered under my breath replaced what was true and right as I kept my eyes on my husband's back up ahead of me, determined to glare at him with my last drop of energy. (Sometimes in my weakness, I know I don't see things clearly. - Can you relate?)
We finally arrived at the top of the hill, only to find most of the Castle didn't make it through the bombings of WWII. I don't think my knight in shining armor would've survived the climb either, if it wasn't for the quiet convicting of the Holy Spirit speaking the same words to my heart that He whispered for me to share with my young friend not so long, but FAR DOWN ;) from where we climbed. What was true about my enthusiastic climbing husband? What was right? What was good? What was praiseworthy? If it should work for my young, newlywed friend, it should work for me in decade #3.
Before I collapsed on the cafe chair with my cold beverage, I thought ... True? He wanted to find a really special spot for us and our friends to enjoy. Right? I had not been clear at all in my hints, and he had no idea I was melting. ;) Praiseworthy? He has great stamina. ;) Admirable? He wanted us to enjoy all the setting had to offer and get the best view. I made my mental list like the Holy Spirit had prompted "us" to on the Basilica steps. My wrong thoughts were stopped, and more Christ-like thoughts took their place.
When I later told my man how the trek to the Castle was nearly my last (or his ... ;) he listened and understood. I was glad I had not "stormed the castle" of my marriage with verbal bombs that would've done damage to "us" and to our young, watching friends. The Word of God was used by the Spirit of God to correct my foul thoughts before they erupted out loud and made a royal mess. Four years or twenty years .... we never stop needing to put aside our fleshly thoughts and replace them with those that reflect the mind of Christ.
Lord, help me to take every thought captive about my husband. Convict me of when my thinking is wrong and help me to think of him in a way that is true and noble, right and pure, lovely and admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. And when I'm weak and not seeing my circumstances clearly, please get my attention and teach me to think in Your ways. And as each reader considers this familiar verse and how it applies to marriage, would you show each of us the very personal difference it makes in our own relationships?
If you would like to share what God is showing you about the adventure of two becoming one, I'd love to have you link up below. Please include a link and mention Marriage Mondays in your post. And thanks for helping to run our thoughts about marriage through Phil. 4:8 as we share.