Miserable marriages are, well, miserable. Nothing is worse than coming home to a spouse who is less than enthusiastic to see you. Frankly, you would have rather stayed at the office and worked late. The good news is, this is the person you married, and there was a reason you married him.
When you always see the worst in your partner and always expect the worst, you are paying on an insurance policy that will, without a doubt, pay off.
Good news? You get to say, I told you so. Bad news? Who wants to be right this time? The way to a better relationship with your spouse begins with an increased ability to stop seeing the negative in them.
1. What do you see when you look at your spouse?
Do you see a shirt that needs to be ironed or makeup hastily applied? You are looking at the wrong things. Change what you look at, and change what matters most. It won’t be his shirt or her eyeliner.
2. Actively look for positives
. This will encourage you to focus on good things. Does he work hard to pay the bills? Does she send birthday cards to your brothers and sisters? Does he keep the house clean, hold the door for you or buy your favorite food? Start there.
3. As a rule, don’t speak to others about your problem
Very rarely do we need the advice of others concerning our spouse. Mostly we are looking for affirmation, someone to agree with us — i.e., I am seeing the bad in my spouse, and do you agree with my assessment? Most of your friends will be yes men concerning your relationship just to be supportive of you. If you really need advice, go to a church leader or a professional that has been trained to help.
4. Occasionally it’s OK to spout off, to use someone you trust as a sounding board — in moderation. Put a time limit on your “spouting.” And when it comes to an end, put equal time into how you fix it, and what you can do to help the problem. Don’t be all-talk or all-complain.
5. Stop looking for validation on social media
Is there a help group for spouses of spouses with halitosis? Come on. You wouldn’t spray paint your marital woes on the garage door facing the road. Yet that’s what happens on Facebook. What goes on Facebook stays doesn’t stay on Facebook. It will end up affecting both of you, and not for the better. Talk to your spouse rather than post.
6. Double check your expectations
Are you basing your marriage goals on the perfect couple in your church group whose children are always brushed and shiny? The husband has abs and all his hair, and the wife still has a waist? People are not like they are on Facebook. And even if they were, you should come up with your own standard based on your own relationship.
7. Most people’s negative outlook is caused by a less than average sense of self
While you are trying to see your spouse in a different light, do the same for the person in the mirror. A little positive mental attitude will change your outlook on yourself and your relationship.
8. Consider how invested you are in a change in your relationship change?
You are too tired to affect change, you say? Reconsider what you are really after. Are you invested in making your marriage work? Then do something. Odds are, there is a solution and there is hope.
9. Be proactive
Don’t wait for your spouse to make that big change or to approach you, first. Your spouse may be at odds like you are, and may have no idea what to do or how to do it.
10. Focus on what you can change
Surely you knew he was going to lose his hair or that she wouldn’t be a size 6 after several children. Find ways to work with your spouse that take into consideration his strengths and weaknesses.
11. Eliminate sarcasm
Sarcasm derails a positive train of thought in seconds
12. Do something for your spouse
Yes, there is time in the day for a note or shoes polished or some surprise chore she doesn’t expect you to do. Make sure those favorite socks are ready to go for the meeting. Let your spouse “overhear” you saying something positive about her.
Ah, yes. The things we do for love.