In his “Psychology Today” article entitled How to Make Your Relationship More Positive, Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. shares the following:
At first glance, this may seem like an oversimplified solution, and I can partly see why you might think that. Suppose you came to me and said, “I’m not happy in my relationship,” and my response was, “Just think positive thoughts.” Such a response could seem like a potentially ineffective solution or even ridiculous.
Still, consistent positive thinking can help to transform even an unhappy relationship into the bond you’ve always desired. No, it isn’t an overnight fix, but it can yield significant benefits over time. What are the upsides of positivity as a couple?
Here are some of the major benefits you can experience from a positive outlook in life.
Positive Thinking is Available for Every Couple
One of the reasons couples are too prone to discount positive thinking is because they don’t think it can “happen” to them. In other words, positive thinking is something you’re born with, predisposed to or that you pick up from being raised in a contented, supportive family. While all of these factors may make someone more inclined to positive thinking, anyone can benefit from its effects regardless of genetics or upbringing.
It’s something you can develop as a couple that eventually turns into a habit. Over time, you and your partner can naturally tend toward a more positive slant on life rather than jumping right to the negative as a default position. No, it’s not like flipping a light switch, and that’s why people throw out the idea too quickly. Instead, it’s something you cultivate, leading to increased relationship and marital happiness.
Positive Thinking Offers Couples a More Realistic Perspective
Many couples are turned off by the idea of positive thinking because they assume it’s the same as denying reality. For instance, they figure if there are serious problems in their relationship, it means you just ignore them, put on a happy face and pretend like everything’s fine. But that’s not how true positive thinking works.
Suppose a positive thinking couple recognizes significant challenges in their relationship. In that case, they decide there must be some adequate solutions somewhere and go looking for them. However, a couple prone to negative thinking would likely feel there’s no point in searching for answers because the situation feels hopeless.
So, positive thinking as a couple certainly doesn’t mean travelling to the land of make-believe and dancing through flowery fields. Instead, it offers a more empowered perspective on life.
People are typically more inclined to jump to the pessimistic conclusion rather than the optimistic one. Considering whether something terrible could happen can keep us safe, but habitually going there can really drag us down.
Developing a positive attitude as a couple enables you to have a more balanced perspective. An essential ingredient of how to be happy in a relationship is refusing to allow your mind to make matters worse than they are.
Positive Thinking as a Couple is Contagious
The idea of developing the skill of positive thinking as a couple may seem overwhelming or out of reach. However, if you both commit to it, it can be far more accessible than developing the skill alone.
That’s because, just like with negativity, positive thinking can be contagious. And wouldn’t you rather be influenced by positivity rather than negativity? Be intentional in setting a positive mindset and you and your partner can both receive the benefit of this.
Decreased Stress in Your Relationship
Another benefit of growing positivity in your relationship is decreased stress levels. Some measure of stress in your life is normal and even healthy. However, when stress levels get too high, they can cause difficulties in all life areas, including your relationship.
High-stress levels contribute to diminished mental wellness, physical health and happiness in your relationship. Relational conflict tends to increase as stress levels go up too.
Why is a positive outlook so valuable when it comes to stress? Because it’s not just the challenges we go through that cause us stress. A major part of our stress is how we think about our problems.
Negativity leads to more stress than we need to have and breaks down our relationships. For that reason, developing a healthier outlook is one secret to a happy relationship and overall life.
Greater Relationship Fulfillment and Happiness
Happiness in a relationship isn’t so much about having the fewest problems. Regardless of how it might appear, every couple experiences their fair share of challenging times.
Instead, what makes the difference is how couples go through those challenges. Growing gratitude, seeing the best in our mate, giving sincere compliments and problem-solving rather than wallowing in difficulties all play a significant role in relational fulfillment over the long run.
Would You Like to Grow a Happy Relationship? Therapy Can Help
Maybe you say, “I am not happy in my relationship.” Or you question if it is even possible to become happy in your current relationship. Too many people give up on a relationship and then continue the same pattern in a subsequent relationship.
With good therapy and support, many couples are amazed at how their relationships can become more positive and fulfilling with the guidance of a skilled therapist.
The Relationship Centre is here for you as you grow as a couple. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help through couple’s therapy, please reach out to us. You are also welcome to book an appointment with us.