Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The differences in a deficiency mindset versus an abundance mindset are many, and all can manifest for good or ill in a marriage relationship. Someone with a deficiency mindset is always “on defense.” He or she is worried about lack, and loss. They think that even if it is not happy or fulfilling, what they have must be better than what would result if things changed. Fear paralyzes them from action… they walk on eggshells trying desperately to preserve the status quo at all costs. Unable to act, all they can do is react to what goes on around them. In contrast, a person with an abundance mindset can go ‘on the offensive.’ (attacking problems - not their spouse!) An abundance mindset frees the mind from fear - of loss, of change - allowing dynamic action, allowing risks to be undertaken seeking the rewards of growth and increased love and intimacy. When both partners are secure in what they have, and yet still know there is room for improvement they can be proactive, knowing that whatever steps they take in faith can be blessed by God, and increased. Unafraid to upset the apple cart, both spouses can communicate and come to a unified, shared vision for their marriage that they can work toward. This is not to say that the abundance mindset makes everything perfect. It does however, allow for regular course corrections when things go awry. When either spouse feels that something is off, wrong, or missing, the right mindset fosters an atmosphere of trust that allows honest communication. Both people know that they are on the same team. The resultant comfort and openness eliminates so much stress from the equation. Life is stressful enough without your primary earthly relationship adding to it! Key to developing an abundance mindset is recognizing blessings for what they are. Take time to reflect - alone and with your spouse - on all the ways you have blessed each other, and how God has blessed you both. Make a list. It helps to have something to refer to when things are shaky. A reminder that God has been with you before can be reassuring, helping you to believe that He is still there and will not abandon you. My wife and I often look back on when our son was born. He came three months early after a difficult pregnancy. The medical costs that accrued during that time could have bankrupted us - and would have, had they occurred at any other time. That was the one year - in our entire married life - we had insurance that covered everything! Now, when things take a bad turn, financial or otherwise, we can say “Remember when God had our backs then? He still does.” Loving fully is risky business. It is counter-cultural, and against human nature to love without pretense, unconditionally. That same act IS God’s nature though, and that is what we are called to emulate. It is only when we lean on His strength that we can begin to love this way. It is a step of faith to put yourself out there, to be vulnerable. When we believe that God will take what we offer and multiply it, it becomes easier to take those risks. The status quo ceases to have a hold on us when we believe that God has so much more in store for us.