Ridding Negativity From Your Relationship
We are in the post-production stage of the Marriage Restoration Project program, a multi-media experience complete with book, 5 audio cds, a Dvd, and workbook. If you like the 5 Step Action Plan to Saving Your Marriage, wait until you see the new book and the full program!
One of the topics we address in the Marriage Restoration Project program is the danger of negativity in a relationship. It doesn’t take a professional to tell you the devastating effects of negativity on your marriage. You may be aware of the bottomless pit you may find yourself in at this moment in your relationship. One of the problems with negativity is the vicious cycle it creates. We reinforce our neural pathways in our brain so that one negative thought will lead to more. This is akin to what the Rabbis say in Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avos 4:2) that aveirah gorreres aveirah, one sin leads to another sin. Couples get to the point where they are so bitter and resentful that they can’t go on.
What is the remedy for this situation? Positive connection. The same teaching that tells us that sin lead to sin also teaches us that mitzvah gorreres mitzvah, literally one commandment leads to the fulfillment of another commandment. But the word mitzvah, while meaning a Divine commandment or even in the colloquial a good deed, also means connection (coming from the Aramaic tzavsa which means to attach or join). A mitzvah is an act that allows us to connect to G-d. Thus, just as a transgression leads to more transgressions so too, connection brings about more connection. When we focus on connection and our positive feelings, we begin to experience more connection.
This is at the heart of Action Step 5, Love Infusions. Sometimes, there is so much bad energy in a relationship that the most important thing to do is not to discuss the issues, but to go out on a date, perform caring behaviors, and share appreciations. There needs to be positive interaction to break the negative pattern, otherwise when you do try to resolve matters of conflict, you will get nowhere. Many couples are so hurt that they are so fixated on focusing on what is wrong with the relationship. It would behoove them to begin to see what’s right with the relationship and focus on what they want out of the relationship instead of what their spouse is doing wrong. We address the latter point in Step 3, Detox Your Marriage.
Marriage can be so difficult and overwhelming, yet the solutions really can be so simple if we are willing to open our eyes and give it our all. As we have been wrapping up the finishing touches on the Marriage Restoration Project, I am quite excited for Dr Harville Hendrix and Dr Helen LaKelly Hunt’s Zero Negativity challenge. In their new book, Making Marriage Simple, they discuss how they have achieved zero negativity in their own relationship and they are in the testing stages of such a program. I am receiving some sample kits and can’t wait to try it with my couples as well as with my wife. They will be speaking at this year’s Imago conference in New Orleans and launching this challenge which I am sure will have a tremendous impact on so many couples.
I have seen so many couples with potential for growth and healing, yet their negativity is often what gets in the way of achieving success. As you enjoy the rest of your summer, try to spend quality time with your spouse. You don’t have to spend money on a fancy vacation. The key is to do something. Have fun, complement each other, and show that you care. It is possible to revive the lost you once had.