Is your marriage not what you expected? Perhaps you are struggling badly and wonder if anything will fix it? Maybe your marriage is okay, but you wonder if it could be even better? The mindsets you have about your marriage affect the atmosphere in your home and your approach to the inevitable issues that come your way.
If you have an upbeat, positive mindset, your marriage is much more likely to be successful. On the other hand, pessimism and a fatalistic view of your marriage decreases the chances your marriage will last a lifetime.
There is a scientifically proven pattern showing how your thoughts end up affecting your marriage and every other relationship in your life.
First, you have a thought. That thought triggers emotions–usually automatically.
These automatic thoughts and emotions are mindsets–mental attitudes or tendencies. After some time, those attitudes become a fixed state of mind and temperament. These mindsets then affect every part of your life.
You see, every experience you’ve ever had, from the time you were born, has trained your brain to react in a certain way. The situations that you have faced in your marriage have created automatic emotional reactions as well. Those emotions affect more than just the way you feel. There’s a domino effect to them.
When you experience an emotion, your brain decides what should happen next. Often, you let those automatic pathways in your brain dictate what you do, and that is where you run into problems in your relationship.
But you don’t have to be held captive by those negative, destructive emotional reactions. Instead, right then, take your thoughts captive as the Bible says:
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,– 2 Corinthians 10:5
You need to recognize the negative thoughts and replace them with positive mindsets. Once you replace the thought, be intentional about living out the new thought.
But what can you replace that thought with? Biblically sound, positive, constructive thoughts. Once you begin to think those thoughts and act on them intentionally, they will become new mindsets. God encourages us to create these mindsets in Romans:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.– Romans 12:2
I have identified seven mindset shifts that can change the way you feel about your marriage. By living with these front and center in your thinking, you will see your relationship differently. If you and your spouse both approach your relationship with these mindsets, the differences could be life-changing.
Which of these new thoughts do you need to train your brain to use?
Mindset #1: Priorities
“In my marriage, I put God first, my spouse second, and then my kids. Everyone else comes after that.”
Set your priorities by determining your activities based on that order of importance. Make sure your relationship with God is right, and spend time with Him. As a general rule, give your spouse more of your time and attention than your kids. The other people in your life should understand that you hold those priorities first before doing things for others.
Mindset #2: Permanence
“In my marriage, Divorce is not an option. I have determined that I will not bail on my spouse. We can overcome every problem with God’s help.”
Stop threatening each other with this horrible permanent outcome over every little temporary problem. Protect your relationship from others’ ideas and opinions, and start acting as one flesh that no one can tear apart.
Mindset #3: Decision
“In my marriage, I show love through a decision to keep loving. I will not let emotions rule or destroy our relationship.”
Is love a choice? Or is it an emotion? I think it’s both. Decide every day that your spouse is worth your love, and find ways to show it. Love is a decision to keep loving, no matter what.
Want a quick list with descriptions of all Seven Mindsets?
Sign up to download them here. You’ll also get a self-assessment and a simple action plan.
Mindset #4: Preference
“In my marriage, I demonstrate that my spouse is my favorite person in the world daily, both privately and publicly.”
If your spouse is your favorite person, you should want to treat him/her better than you treat anyone else. Combat your selfishness by speaking well of them and putting their needs and happiness ahead of your own.
Mindset #5: Time
“In my marriage, I determine to spend time with my spouse one on one so that our connection is indestructible.”
There are many ways to have quality alone time with your spouse. Date nights are a great way to get away from the everyday world and reconnect–especially if they lead to a little more “alone time” with your spouse when you get home. Make a plan for these times and spend time honestly communicating with each other.
Mindset #6: Optimism
“In my marriage, I choose to look for the bright side of every experience.”
Many people say marriage is a let-down after dating. Now all the real-world stuff gets in the way. Eliminate that idea from your mind. Believe that you all problems can be worked out. Make an effort to create positive moments to outweigh the bad ones.
Mindset #7: Expectations
“In my marriage, I choose to stop chasing after a perfect relationship. I let go of any preconceived notions I had about what marriage is like and let mine stand on its own merits.”
Everyone has different expectations of what marriage will be like, but we never really talk about them before we’re actually married. It is vital to have clear and reasonable expectations for your marriage and one another.
Applying the Mindsets
If you are struggling with your attitude towards your marriage, trying to change all of this at once will probably overwhelm you, and you won’t get anywhere. Choose one to create a habit from and work on that. The others may naturally follow, or you can specifically choose another after the first one is ingrained in your psyche.
What condition is your marriage in today? Is it struggling, great, just okay?
If you think your marriage is okay or good enough, remember this…
Two-thirds of divorces in America come from “good enough” marriages. They don’t come from abusive or seriously troubled ones. The husband and wife simply drifted apart.
If you want to take your marriage from troubled or just good enough to one that is fulfilling and secure, look at the mindsets, and determine where you struggle with your thoughts the most.
You can also check out our new “Marriage Killer Quiz!” It will help you by identifying your most prevalent mindset that holds your marriage back from being much, much better than it is.
After you take the quiz, if you would like some help to start creating a less frustrating and more fulfilling marriage, marriage coaching may be for you.
We help you create a new and improved marriage through results-focused coaching without talking for hours about feelings, placing blame, focusing on the past, or admitting you’re broken.
Coaching isn’t a crisis intervention. It’s not a substitute for psychotherapy or professional advice from someone like an attorney, accountant, or physician. If you know your marriage could be a lot better and you’re ready to make that happen, today is the perfect time for you to hire a coach.
Sign up for a free 30-minute marriage assessment to see what coaching with us would be like! We’d love to help you!