How would you describe what it is like to be around a consistently negative person? The kind of person who longs for rain on a sunny day and for whom the glass is always half empty. Wouldn’t you agree that an individual like that can be a difficult person to be around?
In our work with couples we have seen marriages crash and burn because one or both persons have chosen to focus their negative attitude toward their spouse. Even after they are confronted with the issue, they continue their negative behavior. They refuse to change their attitude and accentuate the positive in their marriage.
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In 1965 The Righteous Brothers first released “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and it quickly shot to the top of the charts in the United States and the UK. It’s been covered by a number of different artists through the years. In all, this song was the most played song on American Radio in the 20th Century.
Why has this song resonated with people for over sixty years? One reason could be that so many of us have had the experience of a person we love who no longer desires us. The “feeling” of love is gone. Countless separations and divorces have been explained by the words, “We just weren’t in love with each other anymore.”
What do you do when your spouse annoys you? Do you just put up with it? Do you nag them about it? Has something become a source of irritation and put distance between the two of you?
Sometimes, it doesn’t take much for something to get under our skin, does it? Like the person driving in front of us whose turn signal has been on for miles? Or the individual who chooses the “15 items or less” line with more than 30 items in their cart? Maybe it’s the co-worker who is consistently late for meetings. But those are all situations that we can leave behind us when we go home.
The challenge comes when there are mannerisms or behaviors of our spouse that we allow to get under our skin. It may not seem like a big deal, but experts agree that these annoyances are things that need to be addressed or they will fester and become major issues in our marriage.
If you were baking a chocolate cake there would be some key ingredients you would need. Most of those wouldn’t taste good by themselves (except chocolate!). It’s only after the ingredients have been properly prepared that the dish turns out as it’s intended.
In a similar way, there are a number of different “ingredients” that make our commitment to our spouse sweeter in the “mix” of our marriage. Blended together they yield a wonderful outcome.
“Where have you seen God at work lately?” That is the opening question Brad asks men every week at the Thursday morning Bible study he leads. Initially, Brad was met with blank stares and a couple of half hearted responses. (It’s tough to get guys to talk at 6:15 in the morning!) But over the years the men have learned to show up ready to talk about different experiences they have had with God.
In the busyness of life it can be so easy for couples to keep conversations on the surface. We discuss our schedules, kids’ activities and any chores that need to be done around the house. We may talk briefly about anything interesting happening at work. But after that, the nights and the weekends consume our time and we rarely take our conversations deeper.