Negative thinking can take a toll on your mood, your outlook on life, and your marriage. Some people are just more prone to negative thoughts, however, it doesn’t mean you are destined to think negatively your whole life. There are steps you can take to address your negative thoughts and improve the quality of your life.
What Constitutes a Negative Thought?
Negative thoughts aren’t realistic. For example, if you are behind on your bills, it’s realistic to think, “I have serious money problems.” But a negative thought would be something like, “I won’t ever be able to pay my bills. I’m a failure.”
Negative thoughts are too negative to be true. They are often exaggerated in nature or predict that something bad will happen in the future. When it comes to marriage, negative thoughts may include things like, “My spouse never does anything to help me because he doesn’t care about me,” or “My wife doesn’t care how upset I am. I’d be better off single than living with someone who doesn’t care.”
These sorts of thoughts are often distorted and irrational. However, people have two choices when they have these sorts of thoughts. You can choose to believe them. Or, you can correct them by replacing them with something that is more accurate.
It Changes Your Outlook
Negative thoughts can make your outlook on your marriage seem pretty bleak. When you imagine doom and gloom or think your spouse doesn’t love you, it can certainly take away hope for the future.
People usually don’t have negative thoughts all the time. However, many people often experience them after an argument or when their spouse has hurt their feelings. The longer people dwell on their negative thoughts, the more it can really impact their hope for having a successful marriage.
It Impacts Your Feelings
Negative thoughts will certainly make you feel bad. If you think your spouse doesn’t care about you, you’re likely to feel angry, hurt, or maybe even anxious. And it’s hard to be a good spouse when you’re feeling really down about your partner, your marriage, or yourself.
Sometimes people get stuck in these feelings. They may try to conclude their spouse doesn’t care and then really look for further proof this is true. For example, a man who feels like his wife doesn’t care about him may think his wife is just making excuses when she later says she has a headache and doesn’t want to join him to watch TV. And then, when she falls asleep early, he may again assume it’s because she didn’t want to talk to him. But really, she just didn’t feel well.
It Influences Your Behavior
If you’ve concluded that your spouse doesn’t care or that your marriage is doomed, it isn’t likely that you’ll behave like a considerate, loving partner. Instead, it’s more likely that you’ll put less effort into repairing your marriage or spend less time focusing on trying to make your spouse happy.
Then, it creates a downward spiral. When your behavior changes, it can cause the marriage to deteriorate. If you start putting in less effort, treating your spouse with less respect and place your marriage lower on the priority list, it will take a toll.
Replacing Negative Thoughts with More Balanced Thoughts
Replacing negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts can change how you feel and how you behave. However, it takes work to identify those negative thoughts and then try to change them to a more realistic view. It can be hard habit to break at first, but with practice, it gets easier.
When you notice negative thoughts, try to replace it with something that is more balanced. For example, if you think, “My husband is so lazy. He doesn’t do anything to help our marriage,” try replacing it with something more accurate like, “My husband works long hours at his job and sometimes doesn’t feel like doing stuff around the house on his time off.”
You don’t have to try and go with overly positive or cheery thoughts that aren’t realistic. For example, you don’t need to say, “I have the best marriage ever,” if it’s not true. Instead, strike a balance with a thought that is accurate.
Changing your thoughts to reflect a more realistic view of the marriage can help you to feel more optimistic. It can also help you to recognize the control that you have to make positive change within the marriage. This can make you behave in a way that helps it to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you act like your marriage is a priority and that your efforts will pay off, it’s likely that they will.