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Most marital happiness is a choice

March 8, 2011

What the Experts Say…

“The bottom line is that you need to become the architect of your thoughts. It’s up to you to decide what your inner script will contain. You can habitually look at what is not there in your relationship, at your disappointments, and fill your mind with thoughts of irritation, hurt and contempt. Or you can do the opposite. . . . This really comes down to viewing the bottle as half full rather than half empty—the classic choice between optimism and pessimism.” (John Gottman, Ph.D., leading marriage researcher, in his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail p. 183)

In Other Words…

We can decide if we want to look at our partners with appreciation or contempt. The more we focus on the positive things about our partners, the more we will naturally see them in that way. And the more positively we see our partners, the more positive they will become.

When we feel irritated with our partner, we can succumb to complaining and negativity or we can choose to look for the good.

How This Applies to You…

You can help prevent negativity by building a list of qualities you appreciate in your partner. You might also make a list of great times you have shared.

When irritation bites you, you can take a deep breath and think about the good things in your relationship. Irritation can remind us that we need to be noticing and appreciating the good.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families.

For excellent books focused on marriage, read Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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