Marriage can be one of the most satisfying and at times, challenging, relationships two people can share. Given the relatively high divorce rate in the United States, it's evident that maintenance is critical for success in marriage. Part of this maintenance is being positive as much as is reasonably possible. According to the University of Missouri, one of the core characteristics of healthy and stable marriages is the amount of positivism the partners share. Fortunately, even if you and your mate aren't always thinking positively, there are tools you can use to increase your marital optimism.
Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones
Eliminate negative self-talk. According to the Mayo Clinic, becoming more optimistic requires more than simply paying attention to what you verbalize. Instead, they explain, paying attention to your patterns of thought and replacing negative patterns with more positive, optimistic ones, can facilitate more positive communication between you and your spouse. Although it may sound easy, in the context of the demands of married life, paying attention to what you think before you say it can be challenging. Over time, you and your spouse can work together to pace conversations to allow each party to give thought to what they want to verbalize.
Find Reasons to Smile
Seek opportunities to laugh more often. It goes without saying that individuals who laugh often tend to also be more optimistic. The deeper implication for the unison of a marriage however, is that couples that seek experiences that support humor and laughter are likely to be more positive together. See humor and opportunities to experience it as an important part of your marriage. Ideally, you both will share a similar sense of humor, encouraging you to share laughter together. Additionally, work towards seeing humor in everyday life: Doing so helps to support continued shared opportunities for laughter.
Engage in Healthy Habits
Live a healthy lifestyle. If one or both spouses are unhealthy due to dietary, sleep or other habits, it has the potential to significantly effect the health of the marriage. In addition to normal marital stressors, unhealthy habits can add financial and emotional stress. Make a commitment with your spouse to improve your diet if you have a tendency to eat unhealthy fare. Exercise together and use the time to strengthen your marital bond through communication. Be supportive of each other, especially if one or both of you is struggling with changing habits. Change is an opportunity for alignment, not opposition.
Surround Your Marriage With Optimism
Surround your marriage with an optimistic support system. The strength of your marriage is effected by the quality of the supports that surround you. These supports, which typically include friends and family members, should lean in the more positive direction. Don't seek or expect complete optimism however, seek out mutual experiences that mainly include people in your lives who indulge their own blend of optimism. You and your spouse will likely notice that your moods are effected by those of the people who surround you.
- Mayo Clinic: Positive Thinking: Reduce Stress By Eliminating Negative Self-Talk
- Yale School of Medicine: Can Optimism Make a Difference in Your Life?
- University of Pennsylvania: Positive Psychotherapy
- University of Missouri Extension: Creating a Strong and Satisfying Marriage
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): FASTSTATS - Marriage and Divorce
- University of Nebraska: A Correlational Study of the Relationship Between Sense of Humor and Positive Psychological Capacities
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images