When we are in a long-term relationship, the early days of passionate love start to wear off, and we move into a more comfortable, deeper, steady type of love that comes with the feelings of security you have with a long-term partner. But often, we get annoyed by our partner’s quirks, habits, or perceived faults, and this can snowball to the point of wondering why you are even together and start to think about ending the relationship. Learning how to change your mindset to improve your relationship can make all the difference.
Did you know that the Gottman Institute research presented in the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work proves that 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable? These may be things like personality traits your partner has that annoy you or long-standing issues around extended family or money.
That’s a huge number, right? So how do we change our mindset and start to look at our partner’s personality traits more positively?
Let’s first look at a scenario.
You have been married for years, and it has constantly bugged you that your partner leaves their clothes on the bedroom floor, steps away from the dirty washing hamper. You are continually telling them to pick them up, getting angry sometimes, and more and more often, it turns into an argument. Your partner can’t see the problem and doesn’t seem to notice the pile of clothes.
You start to tell yourself stories about the situation “They just don’t care how I feel,” “They are doing it on purpose to annoy me.”
Before long, this relatively minor problem of clothes on the floor is a major trigger point in your marriage.
We can only change ourselves
There is a simple truth.
We can only change ourselves and our perceptions.
Constantly getting annoyed about the clothes on the floor only hurts yourself and your relationship. Yes, they could pick them up, but if they may have spent the years before they met you not needing to or it not being important to them, it’s a big habit to break. It goes back to that 69% of unsolvable problems.
Focus on the positive, not the negative, to change your mindset.
So what’s the solution? Changing your mindset around this annoying habit.
Firstly, understand that your partner is not doing this to hurt you. Once you realize there is no ulterior motive, they are just messy; you can start to accept this about them. You can begin to change the stories you have been making up around the situation; in turn, your emotions connected to the stories will change.
Take a moment to think about what emotions arise when you think they don’t care or are doing it on purpose to upset you. Anger? Frustration?
Let’s change that.
What is more true?
Let’s step away from this one scenario for a moment and look at your relationship as a whole. What can you appreciate about your partner? What are those good traits or habits they have? The things that you love about them. How good they are with the kids. That they make you your coffee each morning; perhaps they cut the grass each week because they know you don’t like doing it.
Take time here to identify the emotions arising when you think about these positive scenarios about your partner. Joy? Love? Those warm fuzzy feelings?
Changing your mindset will make you feel happier.
When we concentrate on the positive rather than the negative, we start to feel happier. When we feel happier, those around us also feel happier because the energy we give out is received by others and given back. Wouldn’t you rather live with a positive mind rather than waste energy on negative thoughts and feelings?
What about that dirty washing on the floor, though?
I know what you are asking; it is still there, isn’t it? The problem hasn’t gone away. But what has changed is your mindset; you might feel it’s not a big deal anymore, and when you see it, you pick it up and put it in the hamper, using much less energy than creating an argument around it.
Changing your mindset around situations in your relationship and life can bring huge rewards. Connect with me if you need a guide to help you transform your mindset to help increase happiness and contentment and bring you closer as a couple.