Two weeks ago, in part 6 of “Save Your Marriage“, I explained the influence of negative self-talk on relationships. Last week, in part 7, I gave an example of Sally talking to herself about her frustrations regarding her weight. In every relationship, when people talk to themselves about their problem with others in a negative way, things can easily be blown out of proportion.
Self-talk is a natural way of dealing with what happens to us in life and it is typical for men and women alike. It is when the self-talk turns all dark that things start going wrong.
This week, I want to let you in on Allan’s self-talk when planning to hang out with the guys.
Hanging out with the guys
Sally packed her bag and rushed to pick up the kids from music school. The phone rang and Dave was on the other end of the line.
“Hi Sally, I can’t get hold of Allan. Is he home already?”
“No”, said Sally, “He has a meeting till 6”.
“Can you please let him know we are planning to hang out with the guys on Friday?”
“Sure”, said Sally and hurried to her car. The thought of not having to cook on Friday was pleasing. She could take the kids out for a pizza, she thought happily.
Allan drove back home. The meeting had been too long and very frustrating. His mobile phone rang and Sally, preparing dinner, told him about the planned Friday outing with the guys.
“Friday?” he thought to himself after they hung up, “I come back from out of town on Friday … I’m going to be tired … I’ll have to leave straight away after I come back … Sally is not going to like it … ‘She’ll be upset … I hate it when she gets upset … Just recently we talked about taking some time out … But hanging out with the guys doesn’t happen every day … What do you know? I have one evening a month to hang out with the guys and I can’t enjoy it without her being upset … None of the other wives get upset about it … Sally is the worst … Why do I have to stop seeing my friends just because I am married … I never said I was going to be home 24×7 when we got married … I can’t be home all the time, you know. A man needs time to breathe … I’m not upset when she goes for a coffee with the girls on her day off, am I? … I think she’s jealous. If she was friendly enough to the guys, we could have invited them over from time to time. After all, they are my best friends … Heck, they were my friends before I even met Sally …”
The light turned green and the driver behind Allan honked his horn to wake him up. “We’re just hanging out. We’re not running after women or anything like that … Why can’t she just trust me and relax about it? It doesn’t matter what I do, she doesn’t trust me …”
Allan parked the car in the garage. He wanted to see the guys on Friday so much. It had been a long time since the last time. “She was like this from the beginning … Never liked me hanging out with them … Who does she thinks she is? I can do whatever I want with my spare time … She is not my boss … She can’t tell me what to do…”
Sally heard the garage door go up and ran to open the door.
Again, I’ll let you guess the exact words Allan used to tell Sally to “shove the jack“.
In any relationship, whether you are living together, married or thinking of divorcing, find out what you are telling yourself about your partner and notice when you are upset about something that has only happened in your mind.
Obviously, the fears we express while talking to ourselves are based on past discussions and disagreements, but it is important to remember that what happened in the past is no indication of the future! Otherwise, we could never progress.
We all react based on mindset, attitudes, beliefs and fears and at no two points in our lives do we ever have the same mindset, attitudes, beliefs and fears. We change. We change every day with new circumstances and learning.
One of the women in my focus group had experienced depression after the birth of her child and had been very frustrated with her husband for not helping her at home. For months, after he left the house, she would go back to her bed and cry, being unable to fully care for her new baby.
When we talked about asking him for help, she described a completely imaginary discussion about her husband working long hours, which she had never had with him. “He doesn’t care”, she said repeatedly, “He keeps telling me he’s working hard … Taking care of a baby is a full time job … What does he think I do all day? I would rather swap with him … Let’s see him managing with a crying baby the whole day…”
In this situation, the negative self-talk risked her baby and her relationship with her husband.
To her surprise, when she explained to her husband her situation, he was so understanding that he came back early twice a week and made sure someone that was with her during the day and that she got professional help for her depression. She only needed to say, “I need help!”.
If you want your marriage to be a loving relationship, recognize your negative self- talk and stop it as soon as it starts. It is all in your head anyway.
This post is part of the series Save Your Marriage:
- Self-Regulation in Your Marriage
- How to Save Yourself from Divorce
- Marriage and Divorce Statistics
- The Marriage Institution
- Marriage is the Foundation of Families
- The Unpleasant Side of Divorce
- How to Get Things Wrong in a Marriage
- Marriage and Self Talk
- More About Self Talk
- Facts vs. Meaning in Marriage
- All Men Are… All Women Are…
- When Two Do Not Become One
- Marriage and Money
- Be Your Partner’s Best Friend
- Relationship Between Two Onions
- The Greatest Gift: Staying Married
- Marriage of Singles
- The "Right" Trap
- The Intention Trap
- Best Marriage Quotes
- 10 Rules for Civilized Dialogue
- 10 Tips for Re-Building Trust
- The King and His Servants
- The Nitpicker
- Expressing Feelings in a Marriage
- Don’t Be On Guard
- Don’t Clam Up
- Have Good Sex to Save Your Marriage
- Trust (or The Boy Who Cried Wolf)
- Emergency Relationship Coaching Essentials
- Save Your Marriage with Better Time Management
- Choice Theory Can Save Your Marriage