Advice Blog / About

Attitude is Everything in Marriage

Your Attitude Determines Your Feelings and Actions

How you think about your spouse, and what you think about your spouse, will determine your feelings and actions.

Your attitude is everything in your marriage. If you are expecting and anticipating that your spouse is going to be complaining, that is what you are going to hear more of. Since you are expecting it, it will be what stands out most when your husband or wife speaks to you.

If you expect your spouse to be dissatisfied with you or to be nasty to you then you are going to prepare an “appropriate” response in advance, even when that might not have been your intention.

Negative Attitude Creates Negative Responses

When you think negative thoughts or expect negative responses, you develop a negative attitude. Attitude is what you get after you develop a style of thinking (positive or negative) and then practice it so well that it seems like you don’t even have to think it out before you respond. Having an attitude is like pre-thinking your next response.

Problem Attitude Can Happen To Either Spouse

One of the many areas where an attitude can develop is in how one of you chooses to spend your time. It is common for one person in the couple to complain about the other spending time focused elsewhere–away from spouse or family. For instance:

  • Perhaps your spouse complains that you watch too much TV.
  • Or, your spouse thinks you talk on the phone too much.
  • Maybe you think your spouse always sits in front of the computer.
  • Or, you think he spends all his time at the bar drinking with friends.

Not Necessarily in the Right

Just because either of you develops an attitude, doesn’t mean that you are in the right. You could develop an attitude after you’ve been trying to communicate something of importance and think you haven’t been heard.

If you are serious about improving your marriage you have to examine your own attitudes and be prepared to make changes.

If Your Attitude Is The Problem:

Instead of complaining, being angry and expecting negative behavior, propose a different activity. Set aside time to do something satisfying together with a positive attitude.

If Your Spouse’s Attitude Is The Problem:

Respond in a positive way. Show that you are taking steps to change the behavior in question if that’s appropriate. Arrange to share fun time together.

Certainly, if you were newly dating you would try to change your attitude, adjust your behavior, and spend more time together, no matter how busy you are.

Remember When…The Beginning of Your Marriage

Remember when your relationship was fresh and you couldn’t wait to spend time together. During that time you wouldn’t have dreamed of finally getting to spend some time with your partner and wasting it on an episode of Law & Order. No, instead you would have gotten a DVR box and recorded it for later or missed it altogether. You would have turned the ringer off on your phone or ignored it. And, you would include your partner in most of your social outings.

Go back to that time and remember the fun that you had together. That fun is the core of your friendship, your relationship, and your intimacy. Take time to smell the roses, and perhaps learn how to increase marriage intimacy.

Better Attitudes In Marriage: A Summary

I have given you a two-sided message:

1. Watch out for your own negative attitudes where you predict negative responses from your spouse, AND, when your spouse has a repetitive negative response to your behavior, think about the criticism and what you can do to make life better for the most important person in your world.

2. Change your thinking and your emotions will follow. Erase your negative expectations and, as much as possible, meet each other with a clean attitude-slate. Expect to enjoy each other and you’re more likely to.

Taking charge of your relationship in a positive way, and with a positive attitude, can lead you to a marriage that is better than ever.

Warm regards and much success for developing more positive attitudes,