Are you thinking about getting a divorce?  Have you tried different things to improve your marriage but nothing seems to work?  In the beginning you were extremely happy before marriage and expected that the marriage would only enhance your relationship with your partner.  For some couples, their marriage did not live up to the dreams they had about how life would be after marriage.  Some couples experienced joy for a while, however, now they are living in a valley of pain, emptiness and frustration.

You don’t want to divorce so you tried counseling, but somewhere along the way both of you gave up, you read books about marriage by yourself, and even tried to confront your partner in a gentle manner and your partner responded with silence making you react in negatively towards your spouse.

In every marriage, both partners can take positive steps that have the potential for changing the emotional climate in a marriage. Here are six new attitudes described by Chapman (2008) you can adopt to start making positive changes in your marriage.  Focus on reality by telling yourself:

  1. You are responsible for own your attitude: the reality is that you can’t control the environment. Some situations are inevitable; however, you can choose to focus on what is positive in your life. Attitude has to do with the way you choose to look at a certain situation.
  2. Your attitude affects your behavior: if you have a negative attitude, you will express it in negative words and actions. Chapman (2008) explained in his book Desperate Marriages that you may not be able to control your environment; however, you can control your attitude toward your environment. Your attitude and behaviors will greatly influence others.
  3. You can’t change others, but you can influence others: because we are individuals and we have free will, no one can force us to change our thoughts and behavior.  However, we are relational beings and others do influence us.  Think about how advertising influences us everyday to buy things we don’t really need. The reality is that through your positive words and actions, you can influence your partner toward positive changes.
  4. Let your actions be a reflection of your positive emotions: your emotions are accompanied by thoughts; based on your thoughts, emotions, and desires, you then take action. If you focus on the negative emotions, you will stimulate a negative response on your partner. You can choose the higher road by asking yourself: What is the best? What is right? What is loving? By taking positive actions, you will stimulate healing and restoration in your relationship.
  5. You are not a failure if you admit your imperfections: it means that you are a human being and that you sometimes make mistakes. The act of admitting past failures and asking for forgiveness is one of the most liberating of all human experiences (Chapman, 2008).
  6. You can use love as a weapon to fight for your relationship: sometimes spouses focus on receiving love rather than giving love. Look at love as an attitude rather than an emotion says Chapman (2008), therefore even if you are not feeling warm emotions towards your spouse, you can still love him or her. Focus on giving love; discover your partner’s love languages and love him or her in the way they want to be loved.


Here are the five basic love languages described by Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Quality time
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch

References:  Chapman, G. (2008).  Desperate Marriages:  Moving Toward Hope and Healing in Your Relationship. Northfield Publishing, Chicago, IL.

 

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Marta Rocha

About the Author: Marta Rocha is a Mental Health Counselor. Marta is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Marta Rocha is specialized in the areas of Marriage Counseling, Family Issues, Stress Management, Leadership Training, Anxiety, Depression, Sports Psychology, Grief, and Substance Abuse & Addictions. Marta Rocha has 12 years of experience in sales & marketing, advertising, promotions, management, and professional development. Her professional affiliations are with the American Counseling Association, and the American Association of Christian Counselors.

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