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December 30, 2013

The Voices In Your Head

by Matt Ulrich

Microphone in FistDo you ever hear voices in your head?  Those subtle but significant whispers can often act as the rudder of your martial ship if you allow them to.  A lot of times in a marriage, these voices have a strong marital influence, and you don’t even realize that they are there.  In fact, if you don’t pay attention, you won’t even realize whose voices they are… and this can be extremely dangerous.  Although if you have the right voices, then you could never be in a better spot marriage-wise.  So what voices are we talking about and how do we determine who gets a say?

Whether we want to believe it or not, we are highly influenced by the voices around us.  The people we spend the most time with are allocated a spot at our martial table.  That is just a fact.  Those you hang out with, talk about your marriage to, or lend an ear to when they are talking about their marriage are going to garner a sway in how you perceive and move forward with your marriage.  Here are a few things that we can do to ensure that these voices are productive, healthy, and positive in regards to our marriage and not destructive seeds planted in our mind:

1. Recognize that voices have power.  You may say to yourself, “Seriously though, I am a man.  I think I know who has a say in my marriage.”  And that dumb pride exactly proves my point.  Don’t think too highly of yourself sir (or ma’am if you are reading this).  The people you talk to shape the perception of what your marriage should or should not be.  So if you hang around meathead machismo morons who think that their wife should be cooking and cleaning while they are lazy bums who watch football and go out with the boys every night… even if you are a good husband who helps his wife and cares for his family more than himself, those thoughts are going to subtly permeate your mind.  You are going to find yourself more and more concerned about how little freedom you have and how you do so much for your wife and she doesn’t really do anything in return (see the 100/0 post for more on this).  Or if you hang around people who are extremely materialistic, don’t be surprised when you find yourself wanting more “stuff” even at the point of contention with your spouse.  Like a slow drip that eventually fills the bucket, these type of wrong voices undermine where you want to go as a godly husband.  Until you realize that these voices have influence in your marriage, you are going to be blindsided.

2. Get the right voices in your ear.  Quite simply, once you figure out voices have power, you need to do an assessment of who has your ear.  Are they the right voices?  Are they building you up as a husband (or wife) or are they tearing you down?  Are they leading you more towards Jesus or are you drifting farther away from a Biblical, loving, and sacrificial idea of marriage?  These are critical questions to ask.

3. Recalibrate your ear to the Bible.  Finally, the only way to know if the voices in your marriage are good ones are if they indeed line up with what the Word says about marriage.  If it doesn’t line up with the Biblical understanding of prayerful, sacrificial love and surrender then disregard it.  I don’t care if it is your mom, dad, a Christian friend (who doesn’t understand Biblical marriage) or your best friend, if the voice is poison you need to cut it out.  I am not saying don’t ever talk to them again, but it might be wise to keep your marriage out of your conversations with those people.

Sometimes making the hard choice is the right choice for you and your spouse, so make the shifts needed to ensure that the voices around you are ones leading you to a marriage centered on Jesus and not leading you away.

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