Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 01:00 PM

Spam clutters our email inbox, especially if we don’t have a good spam filter. Spam is defined as “irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.” We can have “spam” in marriage as well. (Click on the title to read more.)

What kind of “irrelevant or inappropriate messages” are you letting into your marriage? Where are they coming from?

Here are some examples that come to mind. Unsolicited advice, comments, criticism, etc. from others (family, friends, co-workers, etc.). Gossip. Negative information about marriage portrayed in television sitcoms and talk shows and movies or shared through social media. Descriptions of the “ideal” men and women as depicted in romance novels. Examples of what is appropriate for a husband or wife to think, say, or do, as portrayed in books, magazines, television, and radio.

The fact is that we are bombarded with unwanted negative or distorted messages about men, women, and marriage from a variety of sources. If your marriage “spam” filter is not effectively limiting exposure to these messages, they will start to take hold and you will accept them as reality and apply them to your spouse and marriage. They will influence your attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors with the potential to create discontent and cause or increase division in your marriage.

The Apostle Paul gives us some advice on what to allow: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8) Your marriage will stay (or get) healthy and strong by following this direction and focusing on good, supportive, encouraging, and positive things about your spouse and marriage.

Scripture verses are from the New International Version.

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