Problems & Perspectives
In coaching a couple recently, we began discussing problems and perspectives as they relate to marriage. It is truly amazing how a change in perspective can open up a whole new field of possibilities whether in business, in marriage, or in life. Often times, “ah ha” moments are initiated with the words, “Why don’t you look at it this way…” or “Have you ever considered…” or sometimes the “ah ha” seemingly comes out of nowhere. Here’s a breakthrough perspective this particular couple happily said, “created a fresh start in our relationship.” It really is so simple it is easy to miss, yet it is so important it can revolutionize a relationship almost overnight.
Too many married couples have been conditioned to believe that “we can have a strong relationship once we solve our problems.” Then they go to work trying to deal with their issues. Sounds like a logical approach, doesn’t it? The challenge with this common approach is that while your relationship will, of course, be better without the problems, it will be near impossible to permanently resolve those problems until you are in a stronger place mentally. Underestimating the importance of healthy thinking in productively solving problems leads to all sorts of stubborn relationship relapses and the accompanying frustrations that go along with them.
When you’re struggling with a relationship, the first step (after prayer, of course), with Philippians 4:8 as your guide, is to make the effort to get your head right. Step back and acknowledge your blessings both related to the relationship and independent of it. Accept responsibility for what you’re feeling at the moment. Understand that your feelings, whether healthy or unhealthy, are the result of what you’ve been dwelling upon most recently. It’s hard to be a great problem solver when you’re overcome with negative emotion.
As needed, eliminate distortions, embellishments, exaggerations and self-centeredness as it applies to this relationship. Often a wise friend can help you see the situation with much greater clarity and impartiality.
When you are thinking accurately, without the distortions caused by excessive emotional intensity, you naturally demonstrate the necessary tools for a healthy, close, and satisfying relationship. Some of these qualities include a clear intention, a deeper understanding, and a sense of humor, compassion, and creativity.
Thinking this way, you’ll find that many of the things you previously perceived as problems will no longer seem like problems. And the issues that do remain become much easier to handle. Otherwise, you are left to face the challenges of building and maintaining a strong marriage with an incomplete toolbox. It is possible to still succeed, but this way, it will be much easier to make things great.