To take your marriage to the next level or to heal a marriage that is hurting, a good place to start is with your attitude, beliefs, and expectations. Now, did you hear what I said? I said YOUR attitude, beliefs, and expectations—not your spouse’s.
Let me suggest something I did to turn my marriage around and an exercise I have recommended to couples through the years. Here’s a simple plan of action for creating a successful marriage.
My suggestion for a successful marriage
Sit down with pen and paper and list thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and expectations about your marriage.
Make three columns with the headings:
1) thoughts/beliefs about self
2) thoughts/beliefs about spouse and then
3) thoughts/beliefs about the future of your marriage
List every belief and attitude that comes to mind.
After you have completed the list ask yourself: “how realistic are the things listed and how are these beliefs affecting my marriage?”
Here’s how this plays out:
If you believe for example: “My wife hates me,” ask yourself “is this really true?”
Is there a possibility that she doesn’t hate you? Why do you think she hates you? What has she done that has made you feel like she hates you?
If your wife has done things that hurt your feelings, does that mean she actually hates you?
Question and test the validity of each thought.
I have seen many marriages begin to turn around simply by following this simple exercise.
Simple? Sure. But often the best solution is lost in the quest for the more complicated.
Maybe you have tried all the latest behavioral techniques in marriage:
- 5 Steps to Better Communication
- 3 Steps to Greater Intimacy
- 10 Steps to Win Your Spouse Back
But have you tried looking honestly at your heart, attitudes, beliefs, and expectations?
No, you can’t solve every marriage problem by changing your mind, but often it’s a great place to begin. Great wars in marriage can be won by first fighting the battle between your own ears.
Once you begin to base a marriage on truth, not lies, you are in a better position to see your marriage thrive like never before.
“Remember that whatever you do in life, ninety percent of it is half mental.” —Yogi Berra