Our Thought Process

Constructive and Destructive Thoughts 1

How aware and in control are you of your own train of thoughts when interacting with your spouse?

The quality and nature of your thoughts have a huge impact on your general mood and the emotions that you feel toward your spouse or significant other.

While it is true that we are free to think of whatever we like in the privacy of our minds, it also follows that we have to be aware and responsible for the effects of our thoughts in the real world.

Put Life Back In Your Marriage

Our thoughts do not have to be expressed verbally in order to make an impact on reality and on other people (e.g. your spouse.)

Your thoughts and emotions have the capacity to influence, even in small ways, your actions and your unique decision-making processes even if you make a conscious decision to never express them.

What’s causing all the trouble?

The thoughts that cause the most damage in married life are the deeply-embedded, subconscious thoughts that influence your waking consciousness.

These thoughts lie beneath the surface of your consciousness and influence how you view situations and experiences that involve your spouse.

Don’t worry: these negative, subconscious thoughts might be powerful enough to influence you but they’re not indestructible. Like other mental constructs, these thoughts can be modified, reassembled or completely dissolved if the need arises.

What’s the first step in changing these negative trains of thought?

Thoughts can be quite elusive as they tend to slip and slide as you try to grab ahold of them, so be more patient with yourself now that you’re trying to be aware of your own thoughts.

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Self-awareness is the first step in fixing potentially problematic trains of thought.

To increase your self-awareness, I recommend journaling for at least a month so you will be able to see your most common thought patterns and their corresponding emotional associations. Your thoughts will not be as powerful without their corresponding emotions.

When you begin writing on your journal, I would like you to use 3 columns with the following headings: “Event”, “Thought” and “Emotion”.

When your spouse or significant other upsets you in any way, I want you to write down that experience on your journal. Start with the event itself, followed by what you thought as you were experiencing the event and finally, I want you to name the exact emotion that enveloped your thoughts.

You can begin studying your thoughts and emotions after 7 full days of honest journaling.

Why is journaling necessary?

Journaling is an easy and effective way to see the entire picture and not just snippets of it. Writing down how you feel is also a natural stress reliever, so you will be enjoying this added benefit as long as you continue journaling.

What’s the next step?

A week’s worth of journaling will probably be sufficient for an initial assessment of the thoughts and emotions that are associated with your spouse. You can begin evaluating all the things you’ve written down using the following guide questions:

1. What is your most common emotional state throughout the week? Why do you feel this way?

2. Do you think that your week could have gone better? How?

3. Count the number of items that involve some form of misfortune, delay or hassle. How many of these items have you directly or indirectly associated with your spouse? Why is that?

4. Now think very carefully: is your causation of events logical or based mainly on the strong emotions you felt during these particular events?

Would another person make the same associations if they were in your shoes but are not your spouse’s significant other? Would a complete stranger make the same association and causations?

5. Which of your thoughts do you think would be useful for repairing your relationship? Which ones are getting in the way of finding mutually beneficial solutions to your present problems?

Self-evaluation is never an easy task so if this part of the process is uncomfortable, work at your own pace.

However, I have to remind everyone that you cannot skip the evaluation phase because this is the part of the process that will allow you to see just how your own trains of thought are affecting your relationship with your spouse.

Bear in mind that you also have to be completely honest with yourself because at this point in time you cannot rely on “old defenses” anymore. You need to reinvent the way you communicate and relate to your spouse in order to breathe life into your marriage once again.

What about conflicts in a relationship?

You must always remember that conflict is inevitable in a relationship but this does not mean that you are not a good husband or wife. It just means that you are presently dealing with a normal part of married life.

Instead of shying away from issues and conflicts, what you should do is adopt a collaborative and problem-solving mindset to ensure that you are always ready to resolve conflicts whenever they arise. Do not allow conflicts to take root in your relationship – remedy them as soon as you can!

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