This post contains affiliate links.
One of my favorite marriage bloggers Sheila Gregoire has just released a new book! It’s called 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage and it takes you on a journey on what you as a wife can do, to change or improve your marriage.
I want to highlight some of the 9 thoughts but first I want to tell you how I came to know Sheila;
I was a new bride. Obsessed with marriage and my husband. But in over my head as a wife.
Things were not adding up. I thought new bride = unending bliss. But we were dealing with challenges, as most newlyweds do.
I was well mentored, so it’s not like I was unprepared. But excellent pre-marital and post-marital counseling did not exempt us from challenges. So I prayed harder, even gave my mentors some sleepless nights.
One of the big themes in Sheila’s book is the idea of personal responsibility. How while it’s important to pray and seek God, we must also partner with God and do our part in marriage, not just pray about it.
As a new bride I was receiving excellent ongoing mentoring. I was praying hard. But I needed to dig deeper in action, not just prayers. So God began to take me on a personal journey with Him. It’s around that time that I came across Sheila’s website.
Some of her ideas were radical to my sweet African heart : ) But I was weary of the blues and eager to embrace deeper intentionality.
9 thoughts that can change your marriage
In this book, Sheila shares 9 thoughts that can change your marriage. Thoughts like
- “my husband was not put on this earth to make me happy”
- “I can’t mold my husband into my image”
- “my husband is my neighbor”
- “being one is more important than being right”
Thought #2 “my husband can’t make me mad”
Thought #2 talks about taking personal responsibility for our actions and responses. We own our responses, we choose how to respond. Joy is something that comes from within and to experience exuberant joy, one of the things you must do is choose what to focus on.
“When we look for the bad, we’ll see the bad. When we choose to look for the good things our husbands do, we also tend to notice those things more. In fact, we’ll notice them so much that we often will fail to notice when they do things that are more likely to tick us off – Sheila Gregoire, 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage
I read those words at a time when I was experiencing a dip in my joy. Which was funny because a week before, my joy-meter was through the roof as we celebrated 7 years of marriage!!
I was still happy and grateful for my husband – especially after taking time to drive to the beach on 2 consecutive weekends, over 20 hours of road time in total!
But something else was creeping up. Discontentment. Anxiety (interesting how these two emotions always hang out together) But now I don’t like to worry about my marriage because I worried so much at the beginning. I was eager to know what was causing all the angst-ness.
Then I read those words – “When we look for the bad, we’ll see the bad. When we choose to look for the good things our husbands do, we also tend to notice those things more” Bam!
Whatever I focus on, grows. If I focus on what my husband is not, I’ll see more of that and my gratitude levels and joy will head south.
Joy is not something I choose once. To experience continued exuberance joy, I have to choose joy every single day. Especially on those days I don’t feel it.
Ps. Choosing joy is not the same thing as throwing things under the carpet. In fact that’s one of the big themes in the book; to learn how to take personal responsibility for your own feelings and actions, but also how to get out of the way so your husband can take personal responsibility for his own actions and feelings.
Thought # 4 “I can’t mold my husband into my image”
Ever thought “why do I have to spell out everything in black and white? Why can’t my husband see what needs to be done and do it?” I have! Until I realized
1. My husband is not created like me. Not seeing things like I do is not a choice thing, it’s a design thing!
2) He does not read minds.
3) I have pride issues if I I find it demeaning to ask
We often don’t ask because we fear its demeaning, and yet most men would far rather be asked than hinted at. In asking directly we treat our husbands like grown ups. They can choose to refuse, but at least they know what we want. Hinting is like asking them to read minds, which is disrespectful”
Thought # 5 “I am not in competition with my husband”
She tackles the issue of submission in this section, among other things.
submission is about oneness. In most marriage ceremonies, Genesis 2:24 is read aloud: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and they become one flesh. God’s desire for us isn’t a tag of war relationship where one person gets his way; its for true oneness!”
Sheila pushes back against common beliefs about submission.
She explains how submission does not mean enabling sin in your marriage, it does not mean shutting down your brain and never speaking up, it does not mean being a doormat, it does not involve forcing your husband to lead a certain way (and feeling hopeless when he doesn’t).
Easy won’t do
I love this book because it takes you by the ear and forces you to look in the mirror! The tag line is “because a great relationship doesn’t happen by accident”.
And that’s so true – A great foundation for marriage does not happen by accident.
As an earlywed wife, I am sure you are learning that someone has to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Ideally it should be both of you. But if one is unwilling, God still expects the one to do their part.
You’ll never a see a magnificent building whose foundation was laid as an after thought. Foundations are serious business; always intentional, always the first thing.
[ctt title=”A great marriage happens when we put all our hope in God and then act like God is on the throne ” tweet=”A great marriage happens when we put all our hope in God and then act like God is on the throne http://ctt.ec/0r9fY+” coverup=”0r9fY”]
You might not agree with everything..and that’s okay
Don’t worry if you don’t agree with all of Sheila’s prescription. I hope you can try and see the diagnosis; that there’s a whole lot of effort and work beyond the typical pat answer and it often involves getting out of our comfort zones.
When you read marriage books, you won’t always agree with everything the Author has to say. But you can take the treasures and apply them to your own marriage. That’s what I try to do.
For example Sheila and I might see differently on some things about submission, but I agree with her about the heart of submission and how it looks like in marriage. So generally when reading marriage books, I allow for some stretching, pick out what works, apply it and let go things of things I don’t necessarily agree with (after talking it out with God!) I hope you can do the same.
Is what you believe about marriage getting in the way of a GREAT relationship?
When you’ve put into practice all the usual advice, but your marriage still falls short of the intimacy and joy you want, what then? Are patience and perseverance your only hope for a better relationship?
Author and speaker Sheila Wray Gregoire says, “Absolutely not!” The solution to a happier relationship is not found in being a more patient, more perfect wife, but in taking responsibility for what you can do—and especially for how you think about your marriage. She challenges you to replace pat Christian answers with nine biblical truths that will radically shift your perspective on your husband, your relationship, and your role in God’s design for marriage.
With humor and honesty, Sheila invites you to believe that God wants to bring oneness and intimacy to your marriage—and challenges you to partner with Him in that process by changing the way you think.