While there are many potential joys in marriage there are always some marauding predators lurking about prepared to take a bite out of the happiness, trust, and security of our relationship. One of the most common is Negativity.
Our relationships tend to start with very positive views and opinions of one another, almost as if we were wearing rose colored glasses. Most experts agree that those rose colored glasses are not a bad thing in marriages and we should work to keep them on. That does not mean that we overlook significant negative behavior by our partner, but that we do work to maintain an overall optimism about our marriage, and a positive view of our partner. If we pull out our magnifying glass we can certainly find any number of of flaws in one another, and if we dwell on those flaws, eventually our relationship will turn into a dried husk with little of the vibrant juices that fed it in earlier times.
Additionally, if we allow pessimism and negativity to dominate, we are likely to define all of our partner’s behaviors in that light; even positive attitudes and behaviors will be judged in a harsh and cynical way. The marauding lions will have been set loose in your marriage.
Make the commitment now to shift from a negative space to one of greater positivity and optimism. That might seem like a “Pollyanna” unrealistic response to marital challenges, but it is our experience that the more positive viewpoint will almost always be the more accurate picture of your partner and the relationship. And certainly such an attitude will be appreciated by your partner, leading to feelings of safety and a greater commitment to deal with the real relationship issues in a healthy way.
Start this shift by perhaps making a list of some of your partner’s qualities, talents and attributes. Remember back to your days of courtship and early marriage and some of the early attractions you felt. Think again about why you wanted to spend your life with this person.
We have said it before and it remains one of the brightest truths of happy marriages: Focus on your partner’s positive attributes and your own areas that need change. This will invite positive change from your partner and bring immediate light into the darkness.