(Part 1 of several
One thing for sure, you cannot wiggle your nose and hope your marriage is just going to get better on its own. It does not work that way, no matter how much you wish it would.
Since our society doesn’t teach you how to ‘get it right,’ you MUST take deliberate steps to keep the romance of the first stage of your relationship alive.
Let’s do some elementary review of the dynamics how Feelings, Thoughts, Attitudes and Behavior relate.
The circle on the left side represents ‘normal’ life. Feelings starts the clockwise cycle. It causes you to think about how you feel and in time develop a predisposition to act on your feelings and thoughts…that’s an attitude. Then you act. The process may occur almost simultaneously. It’s natural, but not very functional. Why do I say that?
Try this on, “have you ever been in love with someone you are not in love with today?” If you say NO, I have some swamp land in Florida’s Everglades I’m sure you will want.
A YES answer then begs another question: “Were your feelings lying to you then or are they lying to you now?”
The point is, Feelings are liars. They are tools of the Powers of Evil dating back to The Garden of Eden.
Even though this paradigm doesn’t work well, we just keep on using it because it is normal and natural. Hear me clearly…it will not deliver what it advertises…ever.
There is a better way. Let’s change the starting point and the direction of the flow. The right hand circle begins with the only thing you can absolutely control…your Behavior. You can choose how you act regardless of how you feel about it.
If you do what is right and helpful and supportive and constructive…regardless of how you feel about it, and do so consistently, you will develop a predisposition to do it again and again. As you Think about how good it is to do what is right, something magic happens. The feelings you wanted in the first place show up. The conclusion is in the graphic above.
But, Houston, we have a problem. When anger runs high, your tendency will be to revert to your old, natural, dysfunctional way of allowing your feelings to guide your behavior.
You must be intentional ALL THE TIME about doing what is right regardless of how you feel about it.
It takes practice and intentionality. There is more…next time.