History changes when we view the familiar from a new, unfamiliar perspective. A single photo snapped on Christmas Eve in 1968 is a great example. That’s when three NASA astronauts on the Apollo 8 mission saw Earth like no one before, seeming to rise above the moon’s horizon. After the first humans to orbit the moon took some quick, crude black and white photos, high quality 70mm color film captured a view of our planet that changed history.
The picture, dubbed “Earthrise,” landed on the cover of Time magazine. Later, it was named one of a hundred photos that changed the world. One astronaut reported: “We set out to explore the moon and instead discovered the Earth.” Changing your perspective can have a stunning impact—especially changing your perspective of marriage. And that might be something you need to do. Here are 5 questions that demonstrate the importance of perspective in marriage.
1. How do you view marriage?
In my career as a real estate attorney, I saw people view marriage like a contract. They tried to get the best deal for themselves, assumed the worst of their spouse, and tried to determine in every spousal interaction what would work for or against their interests. But marriage should be viewed as a covenant, not a contract.
Covenants are based on unconditional love, but contracts set conditional transactions. And covenants require self-sacrifice for others, while contracts require “this” for “that.” Covenants need mutual trust, while contracts assume mutual distrust. This is why a covenant perspective is crucial.
2. How do you view your contribution to your marriage?
There are many questions you can ask to assess yourself. Do you look to get something out of marriage, or do you look to give something into your marriage? When conflict arises, do you serve as a peacemaker, or do you view yourself as a champion fighter needing to win?
When you consider your marriage, are you prone to fits of discontent, or are you content with your spouse (even if you still long for more in the relationship)? These kinds of self-evaluation allow us to improve how we see ourselves, which often shifts how we see our spouses and evaluate our marriages.
3. How do you view your spouse in your marriage?
If you see your spouse as an enemy, you desperately need to change your perspective to avoid building up bitterness and resentment. Your spouse is actually an ally.
Marriage is the ultimate team sport, and marriages only work well when husbands and wives remember that they’re on the same team. We need to choose to be teammates with a strategy, not opponents with a scorecard.
4. How do you view the past in your marriage?
If you easily recall good memories, or the hard times that come to mind and how you worked and grew through them, that’s great. But if your memories are dominated by the bad times, on incidents that are hard to forgive (which itself is an often misunderstood act), then the good times fade from view.
It’s important to remember, and celebrate, the positive moments. But it’s equally important to work on healing hurts and disappointments in your past, to keep them from becoming a damaging, unhealthy perspective.
5. How do you view your marriage’s future?
Hope is important and life-giving and is essential in our marriages. Hopelessness, on the other hand, can lead to a downward spiral of heart and mind and spirit. But even a marriage steeped in hopelessness can still find hope. It’s important to understand that you and your spouse are not static, unchanging creatures.
You and your marriage are bound to change. You have opportunities every day to embrace the changes and channel your energies into growing with your spouse. But a hopeful future happens by intentionally taking action, not by accident.
Changing your perspective of marriage changes everything.
If changing your perspective of marriage has to happen, I hope these questions help you do it. It’s time to reconsider your perspective of your spouse, yourself, and your marriage.
Like those astronauts in 1968, sometimes it takes just one moment in time. When we can see something from a new viewpoint, we can realize how beautiful and valuable something quite familiar to us really is.
When in your life has a change in perspective helped you through a tough time? Share in a comment below.