FOUR ATTITUDES THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR MARRIAGEChuck & Eileen Rife © 2004. Adapted from Marriage with an Attitude (c) 2000 by Chuck and Eileen Rife. Used by permission.
I (Eileen) remember asking Chuck a few years ago to write down the top two things he considered most important in encouraging him as a husband and as a man. Without hesitation, he responded with the twin "A's"--ATTITUDE & APPRECIATION. He desired me to have an encouraging attitude, a teachable spirit, and a willing response of support towards him. Needless to say, his aspirations for my attitude were lofty goals. I have failed many times in my clumsy attempts to fulfill his dream of a godly wife. Though difficult in my humanity to function as a Christian spouse, it is not impossible with the almighty God of the universe living within me to will and to do of His own good pleasure.
I (Chuck) really desire to love Eileen the way God wants me to, but I have failed more times than I care to think about. This became very apparent to me when I heard a message at Promise Keepers at RFK stadium in 1995. The message was that if the radiance was gone from my wife that was there on our wedding day the problem was not with her, but with me. I needed to take an inward look and see how I was contributing to the problems. I came home from that conference and examined how I needed to change my life and attitudes. I determined before God to be the loving leader that my wife had been asking for all through our marriage. But I had not listened. Oh yes, I had heard the words many times, but I had never heard with understanding. I was now receiving the message with the eyes to see and the ears to hear that I was the responsible one. God impressed upon me that I was to be a leader to Eileen in the areas of humility, understanding and honor, love and intimacy, commitment, balanced ministry, and in fruit manifestation - living before her a life that demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit of God - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal.5:22-23).
As we study God's marriage manual, the Bible, we encounter numerous and repeated exhortations in the area of attitude. One of our favorites is found in Philippians 2:5, where God clearly states the remedy for an attitude problem - adopt the attitude or mind of Christ, which was one of humility and selflessness.
Whoa! You may be thinking: That sounds good in a Sunday morning sermon, but how does that relate to my everyday experience where I live? You don't know my husband! You haven't lived with my wife! What has been acclaimed as a touch of heaven on earth has been more of a blast of hell for you. You wonder: Why isn't this working? What can I do to make this relationship better? You can be assured that you are on the right track when you begin asking these questions.
We believe incorporating four godly attitudes into your marriage will help you achieve the unity, love, and intimacy you desire.
ATTITUDE NUMBER ONE: ADORATION
When I look at my mate and realize that he is made in God’s image, I should be moved to prize him highly, to honor him, to consider him of great value. If your mate is also a Christian (and we pray he is), he is a child of God, His heir, and a special divine workmanship fashioned by the Master’s hand. Viewing your mate as God views him helps your attitude take on a godly quality. You will find it much easier to be of the same mind with him, not always fighting against his desires, but longing to hear him out, to support his dreams and to strive for loving compromises. You will find it easier to be united in spirit with him, intent on one purpose—namely to do God’s will in your marriage—to be the partners God designed you to be, incorporating your individual personalities, interests, and goals to expedite the common purpose of furthering His Kingdom.
ATTITUDE NUMBER TWO: CONFESSION
Couples who practice confession and forgiveness toward one another show that they want reconciliation, peace, and harmony to reign in their relationship rather than the prideful drive of having to be right. Choosing to forgive past hurts is behaving God’s way, as it says in Ephesians 4:31-32. We are to forgive others “even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”
ATTITUDE NUMBER THREE: THANKSGIVING
You may see a thousand things wrong with your mate, but are you thankful for what IS right? As marriage partners, be prepared to rejoice and see the good in each other. Learn to view your mate as a unique gift from the Father, a treasure to be highly prized. Catch each other being good and offer a word of praise. Write down five qualities you admire in your spouse and review them daily. Even as you both work to make the marriage better, you can practice marital contentment by focusing on the good and positive things in your marriage. This is in keeping with Philippians 4:8 which urges us to dwell on the good, the right, and the lovely.
ATTITUDE NUMBER FOUR: SUPPLICATION
To supplicate is just a fancy way of saying “to ask for what you want and need in the relationship.” Always go to God first concerning every issue. Then as He leads, discuss the topic with your spouse. Your mate needs to hear your viewpoint, feelings, and concerns. Stay open with one another in order to achieve the oneness you desire.
As you concentrate your efforts on developing these four key attitudes--adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication--you will begin to see a marked difference in your attitude and actions toward your spouse.