Marital Masters vs. Marital Disasters Part Three: Marital Masters Are More Optimistic
Imagine that there are two couples (Couple O and Couple P) arguing. Both couples have the same argument numerous times that often ends in conflict with no compromise or ability to let the issue go.
With Couple P, one spouse gets upset and mentions divorce which drives the other spouse into a rage because one of their marital agreements was to never mention divorce since both committed to raise their children in a two-parent household no matter what. Now, neither spouse is speaking to the other, the tension is high, and they are beginning to separate psychologically and emotionally from one another to cope.
This is a stressful and dangerous place for a marriage because the essence and structure of a marriage is based on the ability to relate (relationship) with one another as lovers and friends, even when you disagree.
Also, when couples cope by separating from one another as a habit they put themselves at risk to be “married roommates” which plagues troubled marriages.
Let’s contrast that response to the one by Couple O. One spouse gets upset and frustrated that their arguments are predictable (“I say this, s/he says this”, etc.) and getting worse over time. Instead of fighting, at least one spouse poses the potential solutions of fasting, prayer, seeking counseling and/or attending a marriage retreat (check out aweekendforlove.com- shameless plug) as a way to reconnect and get back on the same page. The other spouse agrees and they take action.
However, some spouses may initially resist the idea because s/he was raised to keep family business internal but eventually agree because s/he is tired of fighting. Additionally, s/he fears that the kids are being negatively affected and fears becoming that couple who are “married roommates”. Besides s/he figures they need all of the help they can get and is ready to be happy again.
What is the difference between these two couples with identical issues? Couple P has a pessimistic mindset where the marital culture is to give up, throw the divorce word around, and/or allow negativity to get worse without intervention or action.
Quick note, it only takes one partner who is pessimistic and unwilling to change to damage the marriage. By contrast, Couple O has an optimistic mindset where the marital culture is to never let go of the rope, never give up and to seek solutions immediately to avoid becoming a statistic.
One or both partners will eventually take the lead on finding the positive in their marriage and suggesting solutions to get it back on track. Even the way they talk is different. Instead of saying, “Our marriage is awful,” a couples with an optimistic mindset would say, “Babe, we have a good marriage that has hit a rough spot since Covid-19. What do you think we should we do to fix it quickly so we can be good again?”
Side note, my wife, Mecca, and I have a rule that if we argue about the same issue three times in a row, we call our own marriage counselor to resolve it. Why?
A) Neither one of us enjoys arguing at all
B) Life is too short to spend precious time fighting with the one you love
C) What is the point of arguing a fourth time when we can get a professional opinion to resolve it once and for all?
D) Counseling has worked for us numerous times
E) We both agree that it is our responsibility to set an example of a positive, Godly marriage for our children, family, and community (someone has to do it, right?)
F) We want our children to see their parents resolve conflict peacefully
G) We can’t focus on #couplesgoals especially since we work together if we are beefing
H) My wife is from Inglewood, California and I am from Decatur, GA so in that type of argument something is bound to get broken (lol)
Over the course of marriage, even healthy ones, there will certainly be good and bad times. So, it makes sense that Marital Masters have optimistic mindsets that lead them to:
A) Stay positive versus negative
B) Adapt quickly to change versus being resistant
C) Find solutions and take actions versus complaining and making the same mistakes
D) Think the best-case scenario versus the worst
E) Find the silver lining in the dark cloud versus claiming disaster
F) Fight through hard times by honoring the marriage versus quitting or stepping out emotionally or physically
G) Focus on their future success and stick together even during down times like a championship team that is down at halftime versus fighting with one another.
Interestingly, research shows that optimism and resilience are not only good qualities for marriages but also for individual spouses to possess in their personal lives. In fact, research has found that grit/resiliency is the number # 1 characteristic of the world’s most successful people (The Obamas, Oprah, Tyler Perry, Denzel Washington, Serena Williams, etc.).
What is the takeaway for your marriage? When you commit to adapting an optimistic/resilient mindset not only will your marriage be blessed but so will your personal and professional success.
Here is a secret all married couples know…your marriage is only as good as the weakest spouse.
What does that mean? It means the pessimistic spouse has the power to suck the positivity out of the marriage even if one spouse tries to remain optimistic. Over time, negativity wins because it is exhausting, deflating and counter-productive to self-improvement. Psychologists called this “negative sentiment override”.
What is the takeaway for your marriage? Pessimism has no place in your marriage or even your life, for that matter. At worst, your marriage can only have one optimistic and one neutral spouse (open to change but may not suggest any) to remain positive versus negative.
God help you if you have a marriage where both of you have a pessimistic mindset. However, never fear, I have included a video here on how to be more optimistic.