One of the biggest obstacles to living the life God has planned for us is distorted thinking.
This can affect every aspect of our lives. It’s destructive to our relationships, especially our marriages.
I got some great insights on this from author Mitch Temple‘s book The Marriage Turnaround.
Mitch tackles myths and attitudes that destroy marriages, and ALL relationships, by affecting our thinking and gnawing away at intimacy and affection from the inside.
He talks about something he calls relationship nearsightedness, based on 2 Peter 1:5-9, and a great chapter called “I Shouldn’t Have To Ask,” both of which I’ll cover more deeply in a future post.
One of the things this book does a great job with is identifying, deconstructing and debunking some of the myths and lies we’ve somehow come to believe about ourselves and others.
In a hope filled chapter entitled, “Attitudes Don’t Really Count,” Mitch includes a list of common distorted thoughts, some of which may sound familiar:
• It’s easier to avoid the problem than to deal with the conflict
• What has happened in the past will determine the future
• Things always turn out this way
• I must be approved and loved by all people
• If things don’t go the way I expect them to, then it’s catastrophic
• If I make a mistake, it means I am incompetent and that I’m inferior to others
• You always act this way
• You never treat me the way I deserve to be treated
• You should always feel, or act, a certain way
• We should never have conflict
• You should meet all my needs
If any of these jump out at you, as thoughts you or someone you know struggles with, I strongly recommend reading this book.
The author explains how distorted thinking can lay “ruts” in our minds. We’re creatures of habit who tend to follow the same patterns of interactions and reactions, particularly under stress.
“When you and your spouse disagree. . .or get hurt. . .or become frustrated. . .or reach an impasse. . .the easiest thing to do is what you have always done.”
Temple shares some of his own failings and weaknesses, along with real life examples from friends and acquaintances, to help us overcome this distorted thinking that has such a detrimental effect on our relationships.
The chapter closes with the important reminder that, “Spending time with Jesus can have a huge effect on our thinking, attitudes and behavior.”
WISDOM KEY: Distorted thinking destroys! How and what we think really matters. Attitudes count. Identifying and overcoming these thoughts is absolutely vital to our emotional health and the well being of all our relationships.
Editor’s note: Over the past few years, I’ve read about a hundred books, many of them on the topic of marriage and family relationships. I am hoping to share with you some of the wisdom keys I’ve pulled from these books in a series I’m calling, Off The Shelf. The goal is to make these pieces powerful, insightful, and quickly digestible. I truly hope they’re helpful to you or someone you know.