Thursday, 7 July 2011

A Glass Half Full

In a recent blog by Mort Fertel ( commented on how couples who are struggling tend to focus on what is not working in their marriage.

Mort Fertel
He goes on to say:

Develop a written list about what you and your partner do well. Perhaps you agree on parenting issues most of the time. Or maybe you manage your finances together well. Or maybe you get along with each other’s friends and family. Think about what types of things you like about your partner and what you like about your marriage. Think about what sorts of things attracted you to your partner and what sorts of things you enjoy doing together.

Ask your partner what he/she likes about your marriage as well. Ask for input in creating the list. You may be surprised to hear your partner’s answers. Keep your list handy and read it regularly. Add to it and make sure to only add positive aspects about your marriage. Challenge yourself to tell someone else something positive about your marriage. Point out positive things to your partner regularly.

By focusing on what works well in your marriage, your feelings about your partner are likely to be positive. When you feel more positive, you are likely to behave differently, which can lead to more positive outcomes. Focusing on the positive doesn’t mean you ignore problems, but instead shows you want to put your energy into what is working well for you and not on what isn’t working.

Certainly there is merit in what Mort is saying. This technique can be helpful even for couples who have a strong marriage. Here is where I think this approach comes up a little short. It is suggesting that a behavioral change technique will change the way you feel about one another and hopefully change the way you interact. This can help some couples but it doesn’t address the underlying heart issues that brought on the struggles to begin with.

Accept as fact that God brought you together and answer the following questions:

1. What is there about my spouse that irritates, annoys and/or frustrates me and what is God trying to tell me?

2. Is ours a God glorifying marriage? If not, what would we need to do differently?

God is more concerned about your holiness than your happiness, to quote Gary Thomas (author of Sacred Marriage). Those irritating mannerisms may be God’s chisel which will help to mold you.

The second question forces you to concentrate on treating one another in a way that would please God. It puts God at the center of your marriage. In the long run this will change your heart and produce more lasting results.

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