Identifying Coping Thoughts 

How you think impacts how you feel. What you think about your partner’s behaviors will impact how you feel about your partner. It is important to recognize some thoughts you may be having toward your partner are destructive.

Just because you think something, doesn’t mean it is true. In fact, the more emotional you feel, the more irrational your thoughts may become. It is helpful to learn how to replace some of your more destructive thoughts with healthier coping thoughts.

For example, a husband leaves his shoes in the middle of the floor. His wife thinks, “He never picks up after himself. I have to do all the work all the time. He’s a jerk and doesn’t care about me. I should have never married him.” Suddenly, her thoughts went from thinking about the shoes he didn’t pick up to he doesn’t care and I shouldn’t have married him. These sorts of chain reactions happen frequently with thoughts.

When you start to have a lot of negative thoughts, try to evaluate how true these thoughts really are. For example, ask yourself, “just because he left his shoes in the middle of the floor, does that actually mean he doesn’t love me?” Take a look at the evidence. Is there any other evidence that would suggest he doesn’t love me? Is there any evidence to suggest that he does?

Once you identify your thoughts and recognize that they may not be accurate, replace them with a more healthy coping thought. For example, thinking, “my husband doesn’t pick up after himself,” is a true but less emotionally provoking thought and it is accurate.

Other healthy coping thoughts include things such as:

  • Just because my spouse doesn’t meet my needs all the time doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.
  • I can work on changing myself but I can’t change my spouse.
  • Even though my spouse sometimes forgets things, he’s still a good person.

Healthy coping thoughts can help you to keep things in perspective. It can help you to focus on what you can change and accept what you cannot. If you think more positively about your spouse, you will likely feel better. It takes practice to learn how to replace thoughts that are not rational with more realistic ones. However, creating healthy coping thoughts that you can repeat to yourself during tough times can help you to manage your emotions.

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