Marriage Killer #3: Vain Imaginations

Before marriage, most of us have a “man of my dreams” living in our heads. He changes as we change and grow. I certainly wouldn’t want the man I dreamed up in my teens! Once we marry, our perspective of our husbands can change from viewing him as the “man of my dreams” to the “man I’m stuck with!” How does that happen?

I learned shortly after our honeymoon that unless I took control of my thoughts, I was going to literally destroy our marriage. What I thought about affected my attitude toward my husband, then my treatment of him. If I negatively picked him apart mentally, compared him to my ideal, noting every inaccuracy, every imperfection, each time he forgot, was inattentive, wasn’t living up to my expectations . . . I soon saw him in a very different light. He suddenly changed from “the man of my dreams” to “the man I’m stuck with!”

I may be the only woman alive who has ever struggled with such ungracious thoughts, but if you’ve ever done something similar, let me share with you my

Battle Plan for Protecting My Perspective of My Husband:

1. Capture each negative thought (2 Cor. 10:3–5). Recognize you are in a spiritual battle. The enemy wants to steal all joy from your marital relationship. He hates you and your husband. Follow God’s plan for your thought life: grab control of “vain imaginations” or speculations—things you may suspect but don’t know whether it’s true. Bring every thought to Christ—ask Him to take each harmful idea or perception and sanctify your mind.

2. Fill your mind with gracious thoughts (Eph. 4:31–32; Phil. 2:3; Col. 3:3, 13–14). Remember the grace you’ve been shown, the forgiveness given to you from a holy, perfect God. Are you perfect? How can you expect perfection from others?

3. Meditate on all the good things about your man (Phil. 4:8). Fill your mind with memories of meaningful conversations. Replay intimate moments that only you share. View him through eyes that see the man God is developing. Focus on the character qualities that first drew you to him.

4. Affirm him often (Prov. 15:4; Eph. 4:29). Let him know you see God at work in his life. Commend him for his efforts. Applaud every tough choice he makes, every hard decision, and each act of self-sacrifice. If you are struggling to find anything positive to say to him, go to God and ask for insight.

How do you guard your perspective of your husband? How have you seen your children pick up your attitude toward him? Tell us what you love most about him.

Originally posted 08.18.09 at


  • Maggie Paulus

    Kim! Such good encouragement. I reposted this on my facebook. I used to struggle so much with vain imaginations as a single gal. It was bondage! Even yesterday, I started to struggle with my thoughts and hurried up and emailed Brent and asked him to pray for me. Soon as he prayed for me, the struggle was gone. Thanks for writing. Thankful for you!

  • Kimberly Wagner


    So good to hear from you! I’m thankful you found this helpful. I think this is something we all struggle with. How wise of you to turn things around by emailing Brent for prayer! I’m thankful you have a godly man who will faithfully intercede for you.

    Thankful for you and your love for truth!