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.