“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7
I have conversations all day long, 7 days a week. And some of those conversation are actually with people other than myself. Now, before you click off the blog and pray for me to stop talking to myself so much, you’d probably need to step back and realize how much “self-talk” actually goes on.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, we have approximately 60,000 thoughts per day. What really startled me about this study were these two tidbits of info:
- 95% of our daily thoughts are the SAME thoughts repeated.
- On average, 80 percent of those habitual thoughts are negative.
The clinic says, “our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones. That’s right, our brains are designed to take in and register negative experiences more deeply than positive experiences.”
That is a lot of negative inner monologue happening; it’s an overwhelming amount of negativity to fixate upon. As I read these stats, I wonder how many marriages are crumbling because we excel at listening to ourselves and are terrible at speaking to ourselves.
“So, you want us to talk to ourselves?”
Well…Yes I do.
Weekly, I have interactions with people who struggle with being defeated not necessarily by what they’re facing but what they’re thinking. Their outward situation can be better than their thoughts, not to sound cliché, but their perception (thoughts) have become their reality. Could it be that the amount of insecurity, anger, fear, and shame we see in our marriage has less to do with what we are facing and more to do with what we are fixing our thoughts upon?
I think a key to being the spouse who God desires and our marriage functioning in a healthy way is learning to talk to ourselves. Let me explain.
Last Sunday, I encouraged our congregation to increase the amount of positive self-talk to help bring our emotions into check. After the service, an attendee told me about a study he had read and forwarded it to me about the scientific perks of talking to yourself. Not only does speaking to yourself help you to be more organized in your tasks, but it gives you a better vision to accomplish what needs to be done.
Isn’t that what David modeled in Psalm 42-43? In this, of my favorite biblical passages, the psalmist says (my paraphrase),
“You listen to me soul; here’s how it’s going to go: You’re going to hope in God. Keep holding on to hope, walk in obedience, remember who you are in Him.“
By just listening to his mental and emotional state, he was bummed out. Instead of being a victim of his thoughts, he took matter in his own hands. He spoke to himself the same words, 3 times, in two chapters and raised his focus to accomplish what he needed to. Simply said: Your mind feeds on what you focus on. And David knew that healthy (Godly) self-talk directs your frame of mind.
What if the change you are looking for in your marriage began, not with talking to your spouse, but with talking to yourself? Good communication is the cornerstone of marriage. But what if we viewed good marital communication that included good self-talk about our marriage? What type of self-talk should we have?
“And David was greatly distressed…But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6
My challenge this week: Instead of listening to the negative thoughts, talk out loud to yourself about your marriage. As the Cleveland Clinic says, “Our ability to generate explicit self-instructions is actually one of the best tools we have for cognitive control, and it simply works better when said aloud.”
What type of things do you need to say to yourself out loud (probably without people around)?
- How/why you fell in love with your spouse.
- Find is right about your marriage instead about fixating about what is wrong.
- Rehearse good memories.
- Yours and your spouse’s identity in Christ.
- Areas you, personally, want to grow in (instead of focusing on what your spouse needs to change).
- The truth of God’s Word.
- Encouragement (over you and your spouse).
How much better would the mental state of our marriage be if, like David, we learned to speak to ourselves and took control of our thoughts. It’s time to open up our mouths and take back our thoughts from what the Devil has been doing to our marriage. It’s time to talk to ourselves.
Love you all. Praying for you.
(^^^imagine if we did those three things to ourselves with good self talk?)
Thanks for letting me ramble…