Change Your Focus – Change Your Marriage

Couple using binoculars to focus their attention.

As a therapist, I often talk to couples about their goals for our work together or how I can be most helpful. Couples typically say something along the lines of improving their communication, fighting less, or working through issues regarding their intimate lives. Many couples say something along the lines of, “We’re good except for our _______.” You can fill in that blank for yourself. The only problem with this is, there is rarely a couple who actually knows that main thing they need to work on. Not really knowing is not a weakness. It’s simply human nature. We don’t always know where to focus. 

Illustration Time!!!

Alright, I want you to take just a couple of minutes (literally) and watch the video below. Seriously. Please take the one minute and 41 seconds needed to watch the video because it makes an incredibly strong point for the rest of this article.

So, how’d you do?

The reason that half of us miss the unexpected events in the video is because our focus is on one task or event.

So often, we do the same in our marriage. We focus ourselves on one event (communication, arguments, our sexual relationship) and we briefly forget that humans are complex individuals and a simple solution just doesn’t seem to work.

Why marriage work is so hard –

I really do believe that marriage can be tough but that we can not just survive but thrive if we work it well. Because while marriage is sometimes difficult, there really is no better way to become more Christ-like. Marriage forces you to lose some of your own selfishness and focus on someone else. It also can be fertile ground for God to show you areas in your life that you need to change. Iron sharpens iron, friend, so getting into a covenant relationship with another Christian gives God some great opportunity to refine you.

How you can make your marriage better? – Expand your focus!

  1. Refuse to focus on the problem.
    When you watched the video earlier, you probably missed at least one of the ‘weird’ events. Either the gorilla, the curtain, or the player leaving was something that happened without you noticing. The same thing can happen in marriage. We can miss the areas of our life that are affecting our “problem.” Don’t look too intently at what you believe the problem to be. Remember, you can miss the bigger picture when you focus only on your big problem.

  2. Consider all pieces that could be impacting your problem.
    Scripture tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are so beautifully complex! But that complexity means that the solutions to our problems can be difficult to find at times. Think about other factors that could be impacting your problem. Do you have physical illness or complication that needs to be checked? Are you suffering from emotional complications such as depression or anxiety? Do you need to work on your spiritual life and grant forgiveness to your spouse for past hurts? To really solve a problem, all pieces of your life should be examined to find those complicating issues.

  3. Focus on the solution.
    One of the most effective ways to keep a problem occurring over and over again is to focus more on the problem than the solution. Again, like the video above, we are usually only aware of what we put our focus on. Focusing on the problem will be a constant reminder of what needs to change, but gives you little hope for an actual solution. Instead, focus on solutions that the two of you can put in place. Work as a team and refuse to continue in the problem behavior.

My hope for you is that your marriage continues to grow and that the two of you walk out a Christ-type of love with one another. Challenge yourself to love more deeply today than you did yesterday.

Blessings on you and your marriage!
Jessica

Dr. Jessica McCleese is a wife, a licensed psychologist, and a sexual educator with specialized training in sex therapy who works with Christian couples looking to improve their marriages and their sex lives using biblically-based principles. Jessica serves on the advisory board for Millennials for Marriage, is an educator through the Christian Association of Sexual Educators, and a licensed psychologist at her private practice in Norfolk, VA. She has a unique ability to connect with others and lead them through practical steps they can take to see improvements in their marriage and currently serves people internationally through her work at BeFullyWell.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

16 thoughts on “Change Your Focus – Change Your Marriage

  1. Such great content! You’re so right about the focus! My husband and I have one main focus and that’s Christ. We try to center our marriage on living like Christ and loving like Christ, and the result is giving time to grow in communication, intimacy, and selflessness. This is a great post!

  2. Wow. I definitely missed all of the oddball occurrences in the video. Loved how you used it to illustrate problems in our marriages. Just like in the video, I feel like sometimes we don’t notice things, even silly things, like a make and model of a car that’s ultra popular, until we’re looking for one. Once we see it and are on the prowl, it seems to be everywhere.

  3. This is a great article! If we truly focused on the solution and come together to work through the problem, we’d be an unstoppable force together.

    • Yeah, I’ve seen the video before so I saw the gorilla right away, but missed the curtain and the player leaving. This is an updated version of the older video that only showed the gorilla. So, yes, my focus was off too. 🙂

  4. Wow! That was a powerful illustration. I only caught one of the three changes, but didn’t think it was a big deal. I totally missed the entrance of another party. That’s crazy. Thank you for making this point. It is good to focus but in doing that we can often miss the other important things that we need to take into consideration.

  5. Thank you, this is such practical and common sense advice! I’m going to do my best to follow it — especially the first point about focusing on the big picture and not just the one problem!