When your Marriage hits the Rocks, Take a Stroll down Memory Lane

When couples are feeling disconnected and experiencing emotional turmoil (regardless of the reason), I always ask the questions: “Tell me how you first met? Tell me why you fell in love with your partner?” Couples then pause and look at me in an extremely quizzical way, almost as if to say: “Hey, I want to tell you what’s wrong with her/him, not reminisce about the good ole days.” (Thank goodness I have a thick skin because believe me, some of these looks could kill!) Nonetheless, I persevere and what follows are some of the most beautiful stories of romance and love you could possibly imagine. Many of these incredible love stories are truly amazing and full of wonderment and joy.

So what is the value of remembering how you met your partner and why you fell in love with your partner in the first place when the two of you are at a point in your relationship where the very thought of each other sends a shiver of contempt, not lust, down your spine? The answer to this question is really simple so listen up.

Many couples ignore signals that their relationship is going south until it is in a rapid downward spiral – unraveling at the speed of light. At this point, everything about your relationship and everything about your partner feels negative, or at least it appears to be that way. By this point in your relationship, you have created such a negative mindset about your partner and your marriage – all you really see is the negativity. (Neuroscience has taught us that we really do create what we believe to be true.) If we think positively – we only see the positive – and the reverse is true. If we think negatively – we only see the negative. (And we all know people who see the glass as half-full, all the time.) So when you create a negative mindset by thinking negatively about your partner and your relationship, negativity is, in fact, all you will see.

The danger of this negative mindset is the creation of a filter whereby anything positive about your relationship is filtered out – allowing only the negative aspects of your relationship to remain and they are viewed with a laser-like focus. Therefore, you really cannot see any positive aspects about your relationship or your partner; it has all been unconsciously blocked from your mind.

Therefore, my proven relationship tool of having couples remember and then verbally describe to each other memories of their early meetings and dates, and how they fell in love, creates the start of a shift from a negative mindset to a positive one. This shift eventually evolves into a positive mindset which creates positive feelings of warmth and tenderness towards your partner and your relationship; feelings which had been dead and buried for quite a long time.

A positive mindset about your relationship allows you to see the positive in both your partner and your relationship – allowing the ice to begin to thaw in the relationship. For example, you might start to feel like maybe he isn’t such a complete jerk after all. This might sound like a rather small concession about how you feel towards your partner but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I also recommend the use of positive affirmations to help with a relationship mindset shift from the positive to the negative (and many couples report using my Relationship Affirmation Deck of Cards a fun, healthy way to make this mindset shift too).

Next time you find yourself thinking negatively about your partner or your relationship, think back to when you first fell in love and feel the feelings these thoughts create inside your heart. Maybe they haven’t changed as much as you have come to believe they have? Maybe someone else in the relationship has changed more? More on that thought another day.

Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,

Dr. Patty Ann

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