The one problem most (if, not all) couples face in their relationship and how to overcome it.
A few years ago, we had a delightful opportunity to meet an elderly couple married for 67 years. It was truly amazing to see the way that they laughed and smiled when they looked at each other—even after all those years. It was clear that they loved and cared deeply for each other; it just made our hearts sing. We imagined that their love had been forged over many years of happy memories as well as overcoming various life challenges.
After sharing several minutes just observing and feeling inspired by their interaction, we were compelled to ask them a simple question: “What has been one of the most important things that you have done that have enabled you to create such a wonderful life together over these past 67 years?”
“It hasn’t always been this way.” “Early in our marriage,” they explained, “like many couples, we fought a lot.” They both chuckled. “We wasted a lot of time finding fault, criticizing, and blaming each other for just about everything. We’d ‘push each other’s buttons,’ and before we knew it, we were saying all kinds of hurtful things to each other. We knew we loved each other, but that wasn’t enough. Our dilemma was that we just didn’t know how to be together and be happy.”
“Some mutual friends called us one day and invited us to join them to hear a lecture given by a motivational speaker who was a student on Dr. Norman Vincent Peale—the author of a world-renowned book entitled, The Power of Positive Thinking. Two things stood out to us from his lecture. He said that ‘gratitude is the key to changing our attitude’ and that ‘criticism destroys relationships.’ On the way home, we talked about it and decided that this was the answer we needed to turn things around. From that moment on, we decided to express gratitude and appreciation for all of the things, both large and small, that we did for each other. The more we looked, the more we found to appreciate.” They began to practice a “zero” tolerance for criticism in their relationship.
“That sounds pretty simple,” we responded. “But, can you really do that?” “Yes,” they replied, “but to be successful, you have to train your mind to look for the positive rather than the negative. This one thing above all else has had a tremendous influence both in our marriage as well as in our family.”
We imagine that there may be those of you who are saying that this may sound “all well and good,” while pondering other thoughts and actions: “Am I to ignore when my partner has ‘gotten on my last nerve because of something they are doing that has upset me?’ Am I just to forget it? I cannot and will not let them get away with it without letting them ‘have it!’” You’ve probably already been doing this. And, in the words of Dr. Phil, “how has that been working for you?” You might have felt better getting it off your chest, but has it gotten you what you really wanted? Probably not.
Before anyone can implement the “zero” tolerance for criticism, they need to discover their resistance and blocks to changing behavior when an endless cycle of anger, frustrations, arguments, blaming, and criticism gets in the way. The longer these feelings prevail, the worse a person is likely to feel.
Want to know the secret to overcoming this resistance without all that hassle?
We invite you to visit www.JesseandMelva.com to get a jump start to the first steps to shifting gears to train your mind to look for the positive, rather than the negative, to achieve the results of this wonderful married couple of over 67 years.
To Your Relationship Success, Jesse and Melva Johnson
Learn more about them by visiting their website, www.jesseandmelva.com!