Dwell on What’s Good
By: Britnee Bradshaw
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things.” - Philippians 4:8
There’s a funny thing that happens when we get married. We start to see how the spoken and unspoken expectations we had of our spouses begin to weigh down. These expectations can be messy and take a lot of patience, kindness, and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit for us to navigate.
My husband Christopher and I have been married for four years. In that period, I’ve seen the true benefit of dwelling on the good things. We’ve made our fair share of mistakes. We’ve had to deal with unmet expectations and we’ve experienced disappointing one another. Our marriage has been laced with pleasantries and hurts, but it’s been our willingness to see the best in each other that has helped us, and continues to help us, in loving one another well!
Dwelling on the good in our spouse doesn’t always come naturally. It takes intentional effort to think of them the way Paul tells the church in Philippi to think about one another. It requires daily patience, a willingness to surrender, and a lot of grace. It is hard, but it's not impossible for those who have the Holy Spirit living in us!
One of the definitions of dwell means to live or continue in a given condition or state. When we dwell on certain thoughts, whether good or bad, we’re making those thoughts a home in our mind! Paul told the church to dwell on what was true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, morally excellent, and praiseworthy. He told them to do this so that their thoughts concerning each other would be healthy.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us this, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” What we dwell on is important because our thoughts are powerful. They can change the way we perceive things, for good or for bad, and they shape the way we interact with and love the people God has put in our lives.
If the thoughts we dwell on aren’t good, we run the risk of treating our spouses in ways that degrade and denigrate them. Our negative thoughts can lead to us seeing our spouses in an antagonistic way, which can eventually cause us to treat them in a manner less than one that pleases God. Thinking good thoughts, however, puts us on the path to being compassionate, gentle, encouraging, longsuffering, and forgiving toward them!
Maybe you’re in a situation with your spouse where it’s a bit difficult to see the good in them right now. Maybe that’s affecting the way you love them. Friend, I can honestly say that I’ve been there! The beautiful thing, though, is that we don’t have to stay in that place! We may not be able to change our spouse, but we can surely control our own thought life. We can decide to see the good and honorable things in our spouses. Take time to make a list of all of the good qualities your spouse has. Jot down everything you can think of that is pure and lovely about them, and then take that list and verbally rehearse it throughout the day. You’ll be surprised at just how far good thoughts can take you in regards to how you see, engage with, and enjoy your spouse!
Britnee Bradshaw is a wife, mama, and author. She enjoys reading several books at once, making vegetarian meals from scratch, and strolling around Saturday morning farmer's markets. You can find her blogs, teachings, and her newest eBook, War For Your Covering: A Wife's Guide to Intercessory Prayer, at her website here (www.britbradshaw.com).
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Originally published Thursday, 20 July 2023.