A Positive Attitude Predicts Success In A Marriage
by John E. Turner, LMFT and Sally Ratterman Connolly, LMFT
A question for the therapists: How do you know when a troubled marriage really is going to be okay? What are signs that things are back on track?
One of the ways that we can tell when a couple is back on track is when they talk about each other and their relationship with a positive tone, softening problems or their partner’s mistakes with understanding and talk of “when we get through this …”
Emily was relating a story about Tim’s forgetting yet one more of her birthdays. In the past, she would have been extremely mad, hurt and disappointed. She would have seen it as a sign that he no longer loved her and was very selfish. Now she is able to tease him a little, let it go and then let him know what she was buying her for a present and where he was taking her for a celebratory meal.
This “attitude of forgiveness and acceptance” allows couples to place a positive sentiment on what might have been seen as negative and hurtful behavior, lightening the feelings in the marriage and enhancing a “we-ness” and commitment to work through “normal” differences and challenges. This occurs when there are a lot of positives in the marriage and couples have an abundance of love, good will and positive feelings toward each other and their relationship. (John Gottman’s researched formula is 5 positives for every 1 negative.)