How to Be Positive in Your Marriage

The Importance of Learning To Be Positive

If you and I were being honest, we’d likely agree it’s often easier to notice the negative around us than it is to appreciate the good and be positive. However, seeing the world through “rose colored glasses” has a largely positive impact on our lives and is an especially great benefit to healthy relationships.

When it comes to marriage, accomplishing this positive perspective throughout the relationship can be tough over time. Many couples admit to waking up one day only to realize the sweet, hazy perspective we once had for our spouse seems to be fading.

So how do we combat this tendency to gravitate toward cynicism? How do we learn to foster a positive perspective of our spouse? How do we create an environment in our marriage where it all seems to be positive? Let’s learn how to be more positive!

Learning how to have a healthy relationship can be a lot of fun! | The Dating Divas
Couple finds time to have fun together for a more positive relationship

the importance of being proactive to be positive

I still vividly remember the day a friend called to tell me that something shifted in her relationship. Words spoken in passing were not as positive. Avoiding the negative attitudes and negative perspectives of each other began to occur less effortlessly than they did in the beginning. Arguments seemed to escalate more quickly. More assumptions were read between the lines of short conversations leading to more frustration and misunderstandings. Can you relate?

I invite you to consider this powerful statement:

The absence of a mindset that assumes the best of our spouse will quickly spiral to a mindset that assumes the worst.

WOW, right?

The toughest takeaway from this common marital situation is that this perspective shift in many of our relationships does not occur overnight. In fact, the way we view our spouse changes so slowly over time we often hardly notice. The biggest problem with this transition from admiration to hostility is that it begins as a slow fade but picks up speed as it goes, wreaking havoc on the relationship.

Positive Sentiment Override (PSO) or the Positive Perspective is something that couples can work on every day. Having a Positive Perspective of your partner and your relationship helps to more effectively problem solve during conflict, make more repair attempts (an action or statement that aims at reducing escalating conflict), and generally see your partner in a more positive light.

Negative Sentiment Override (NSO) or the Negative Perspective, on the other hand, distorts your view of your partner to the point where positive or neutral experiences are perceived as negative. Couples in the Negative Perspective don’t give each other the benefit of the doubt.
Ellie Lisitsa, writer for The Gottman Institute

Being quick to choose positivity in every small moment we can with our spouse is extremely important if we want to combat the slow fade of our rose colored glasses. Creating a positive relationship is a steady climb. The festering growth of negativity is compounding. But, what if the negative spiral has already begun? Is it too late?

how to have a healthy relationship by using positivity

A positive perspective of our spouse can help create a positive relationship! | The Dating Divas
Learning to be positive with your spouse is key for a healthy relationship

The first place we almost always need to focus when seeking how to have a healthy relationship is WITHIN. As Dr. John and Julie Gottman’s research concludes, when Negative Sentiment begins to be the overriding perspective of our spouse, things like conflict resolution and reconnecting after an escalated moment are two of many scenarios that begin to cascade and push the next negative button like a long, sad game of dominos.

When we see those dominos falling around us, it is easy to feel helpless. However, the truth is, choosing EARLY to think through the POSITIVE perspective allows us to ensure that first negative domino never falls. Though we may look at our situations and think “Wow, this is way too messy for an easy fix to make any impact,” I really believe doing the next RIGHT thing will rarely let us down.

Like many strategies in marriage, creating a healthy relationship actually has so much more to do with the buildup of LITTLE moments than it ever does with the large ones. For those of us with normal, messy, complicated relationships {ahem, everyone should be raising their hand with me here!} this is an encouragement!

so what does “the next right thing” look like internally?

  1. Take time to fondly remember the beginnings of your relationship.
    WHY did you fall in love with your spouse? Take a stroll down memory lane in your mind and remember the early, simple days. Leave physical reminders of your love in easy-to-see places around your home. Remind yourself often of why you fell in love!
  2. Make an effort to catch your partner doing something GOOD.
    Have you ever noticed how easy it is to spot a blue car when you’re looking for one? So notice the good in your spouse! If even internally, tuning your attention to your person in a positive way will certainly help adjust your perspective.
  3. Take mental inventory of any bitterness holding you back.
    Are you still clasping to any past hurts that have already been resolved? Or are you clinging to past hurts that have NOT been resolved? Has your spouse had the chance to make this right? Secret bitterness is unfair and will kill positivity.
  4. Create space for yourself to do an activity that brings you joy.
    Sometimes the best thing we can do when trying to redirect our environment is to take a moment for ourselves. Doing an activity that brings you joy will help you re-center so that you have better capacity to bring positivity to your home.
Doing the next right thing helps us to be positive in our marriages! | The Dating Divas
Couple practices how to be more positive in their marriage

how to be positive externally with the next right thing:

  1. Make an effort to re-phrase your complaints to praise.
    Sanaa Hyder, writer for The Gottman Institute, gives this example:
    “Instead of ‘Why haven’t we gone on a date recently?’ Try this:I love it when we go out together. Remember when we went to that restaurant that night? I had so much fun. Let’s do that again!
  2. Be verbal as you notice your partner doing something good.
    Earlier, you were internally making a note of your partner doing something good because this helps you to notice how often it actually happens. Now, I challenge you and I to speak up about those things! Let your spouse KNOW you noticed.
  3. Set aside scheduled time to NAME your needs before you become bitter.
    Ken Fremont-Smith, LMC & LMHC, states clearly:
    The key antidote to contempt is expressing your feelings and longings—and expressing them well.” Be vulnerable! Share humbly what you need.
  4. Create space to have FUN with your spouse and fondly recall early love.
    This is The Dating Divas specialty {wink!}. Keeping your relationship FUN and maintaining an atmosphere similar to what you had when you were dating is key. Check out the dates on our site for date ideas! There are even free printables!

If you and your spouse are in a deep rut of negative patterns, it may take more than one positive action to flip your domino direction. Though it feels discouraging, keep doing the next right thing. Keep looking out for ways on how to be more positive. I absolutely know this is hard because I have been there too.

In honest transparency, I wanted to wait until NOW to tell you that I am the friend who noticed something had shifted in her relationship. I am the friend who decided to do something about it. I am the friend who swam upstream battling the waves and the current to create a more positive relationship. I am the friend who decided to BE the positive in order to HAVE that positive marriage. I am the friend who remembers how difficult each choice was but I will also be the friend who’s first in line to tell you how WORTH IT the hard work is.

So if you’re wondering how to have a more healthy relationship or yearning how to be positive, remember it is those little moments that will make the difference.

The Secret Ingredient to a Happy, Positive Marriage

Want to know what brings about positivity in marriage faster than anything else? I’ll spill the secret to you: romance! Romance between two people ignites sparks, literally raises dopamine levels in the body, and generally makes you feel more happy and positive personally AND towards your spouse!

Good thing you know who to turn to for romance ideas, right? (Ahem, that would be US!)

Our all-time favorite and most popular program for helping couples be more romantic is our 10 Minute Marriage Challenge. With romance ideas sent separately and conveniently to both partners, AND with classy and comfortable intimacy ideas sprinkled in there, this challenge is a game-changer for all couples, regardless of if you’re struggling or things feel right on track.

The 10 Minute Marriage Challenge helps couples experience more romance | The Dating Divas
Couple happily embraces as they share more romance together

I urge you to consider the 10 Minute Marriage Challenge if you’re looking for ways to have more romance and feel more positivity within your relationship. I can guarantee you you’ll feel the difference!

Remember that it starts with YOU. You have the power to change the course of your marriage.

And most of all? Remember that we are in your corner.

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Mikayla

I am a 5'2" girl living in my 6'2" husband's world and loving EVERY second of it! I am the proud dog mom to our beautiful Corgi Australian Shepherd mix, Kobe. (Lovingly named by my hubs after his favorite LA Lakers Basketball legend Kobe Bryant.) I am an Enneagram 3 with equal wings 2 and 4 who dreams to be the vibrant intersection where right brain meets the left. I am an introverted extrovert...or was it extroverted introvert?! I live for good music, challenging books, ALL forms of the glorious and ever-versatile potato, any DIY project that requires a big-girl power tool, binge marathons of The Office, every home renovation show that exists on a streaming service, and moments in time that are filled by nothing but loud, lawless laughter.

Learn more about Mikayla
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