Do you hear those people who talk negatively about their marriages? They are everywhere! The world has such a pessimistic view of marriage. People complain that their spouse doesn’t help around the house or that they don’t give them any appreciation when they do. You hear how terrible their sex life is (can you say TMI?). You hear about them using the silent treatment against their spouse and gripe about the fact that they argue about the same thing every single day. Oh. Wait. It was you doing the complaining.
When you say those negative things about your spouse, you are exposing your limiting beliefs about your marriage. And these are something you need to deal with in order to create a marriage you’ll want to celebrate in public instead of constantly lamenting it.
Limiting beliefs are those which inhibit us in some way. When we fall for these beliefs, we don’t do, think, or say anything that contradicts them. Doing this causes us to we hinder ourselves and don’t live up to the incredible plan God has for our lives. Limiting beliefs are often about ourselves and our self-identity, but they can also be about others and the way the world works.
Most of us have limiting beliefs about marriage. What we have seen and experienced about marriage since the day we were born is hanging out (that’s the technical term) in our brains, causing us to process it and make sense of it. These beliefs, both good and bad, are affecting your relationship right now.
Examples of limiting beliefs
- Love and passion fade over time.
- My partner is flawed.
- My spouse needs to complete me.
- Infidelity is inevitable.
- Divorce is common, so who knows?
- Love is only a feeling that can change.
- I can’t trust my spouse.
- If my marriage is meant to succeed, it will.
- I am what I am. I can’t change.
- Marriage shouldn’t be a lot of work
- I’ll be happy when…
- My spouse will never change.
- My spouse always/never…
- He/she is not as good of a partner as so-and-so’s…
- They should know what I want.
So, if we have these types of thoughts concerning our marriages, we won’t do, think, or say anything that goes against that belief without intentionally working to do so.
Yes, whatever you think about your marriage is true. If you believe there is hope for your marriage, there will be. If you believe that its problems are insurmountable, they are.
This does not mean that God will magically end any problems you may be having just because you try to have better thoughts. But, identifying your limiting beliefs can help you focus on God’s Word and overcome them.
A Biblical View of Limiting Beliefs
God does not want us to hold any beliefs that hinder us in our walk with Him. And he doesn’t want those thoughts affecting the second most important relationship in our lives either.
Here’s what we can learn from scripture about limiting beliefs in light of a powerful God.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything—1 Corinthians 6:12.
You can think anything you want to. You can let the limitations caused by these thoughts affect your life. God will not strike you dead or turn away from you. But in this verse, we see that even though some things are ok to do, they are not necessarily good for us.
Letting yourself hold on to the limiting beliefs gives the Devil a stronghold.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.–Romans 12:2
In Romans 12:2, we see that God wants us to renew our minds to focus on what is good, acceptable, and perfect. He doesn’t want us focusing on the negative. When you think about your spouse or your relationship in a negative way, you are conforming to the world’s view of what marriage should be. God’s will for marriage is good, acceptable, and perfect. Focus on that truth.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,–2 Corinthians 10:5
Here, in 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul reminds us that we are to take our thoughts captive God has a plan for marriage and we need to remember what his intention is. We capture every thought and make it obey Christ. So we obey commands about marriage and how to treat each other like we are commanded to treat all other people.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.–Isaiah 26:3
Isaiah 26:3 tells us to keep the focus where it belongs; on Christ, not on the problems this world throws at us. Don’t give up and become discouraged. Allow yourself to open up those parts of you that have been hurt to feel God’s peace and hope.
Overcome the limiting beliefs
Identify the challenge.
What are some negative thoughts you have about your marriage or spouse? Examples could be concerning communication, trust, sex, money, whatever you is an obvious problem. Perhaps something like, “My spouse never shows me affection.”
Discover the underlying belief.
Ask yourself why you think you cannot overcome that challenge. Don’t overthink this. The answer that you thought of first is probably the belief that is holding you back. “I need my spouse to show me affection because it makes me feel like I am loved.”
Is it really true? Think of actual examples that either prove or disprove your theory. “He does show me affection, but not as often as I’d like. Just because he doesn’t show a lot of affection, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.”
Test it against God’s word.
Think about that limiting belief, and ask yourself if it is the truth in light of the Bible. Examine it by looking for evidence of it in your life. Find verses that talk about that belief. “If I’m feeling unloved, Romans 5:8 reminds us that God’s love is more than we can ever need. But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Replace it with Truth.
Think of an alternate belief based on scripture that makes you feel hopeful about overcoming your challenges. A new biblical positive quote could be, “I am already loved by God. If God loved me enough to die for me, then his love is the greatest love I will ever have.”
Take that message of truth from God’s word and let it saturate your life. The more you focus on the Biblical mindset and the scripture, the stronger that positive mindset will become. Put the scripture and your positive quote where you can see them many times a day. Write them on sticky notes on your mirror. Create graphics on your computer with them and make them your background on your phone. Memorize them by repeating them over and over.
Do you have negative thoughts that are limiting your marriage’s growth? We do free marriage assessment calls on Thursdays and we would love chat with you and help you identify ways you can improve your marriage. Click on the link to apply for one of the spots!