She caught him watching porn. She had borrowed his computer to look up something on Google and was caught by surprise when an image flashed on the screen. She was devastated. She felt hurt and betrayed and wasn’t sure she could trust him anymore. She had confronted him, and he had withdrawn in shame. They closed off to each other emotionally and were contemplating divorce after 20 years of marriage.
In another marriage, another woman caught her husband watching porn. She confronted him and he too had withdrawn in shame. She was pissed and declared she was done. He suggested they go to counseling before she pulled the trigger. “Do it for the kids”. She agreed.
After just a few private coaching sessions and our Give Yourself to Love training, they are back in love and have reignited their sex life with renewed vigor. Turns out he was using porn to protect his wife from his high sex drive. Once he got honest about that, listened and apologized for the impact of his secrecy, she felt loved and desired again, and they were able to heal and revive their marriage.
What made the difference between a marriage saved and a marriage broken? The willingness to examine, take responsibility for, and shift their thinking.
As humans, we constantly make conclusions. In relationship, we look at our partner’s behavior and make conclusions about what it means. The conclusions we make determine the course of action we take. Take the two examples above. If you conclude the man is an irredeemable liar, you’ll take one course of action, such as initiate divorce. If you conclude he’s afraid to share what’s going on for him and is trying to protect his wife from undue burden, you’ll take another course of action, such as getting help, asking questions, talking and listening.
When you “think” or conclude, that your partner is a liar who can’t be trusted, that produces a certain experience in your relationship life. Conversely, when you think that your partner is doing their best, loves you and wants to know you and hear you, you create a different experience in your relationship. One closes down the heart and shuts down possibilities. The other opens the heart to infinite possibilities.
Thoughts matter. They can produce suffering or bliss, in any area of your life. We hear some people say that they feel trapped and depressed at home because of Covid. Others feel cozy and creatively inspired. Some people feel afraid, while others feel trusting, even when their circumstances are seemingly similar.
We don’t mean to say that circumstances don’t influence our thoughts and experiences. Certainly, having enough money to pay bills makes it easier to think good thoughts than not having enough and being at risk of losing your home. Having a partner who calmly and respectfully talks to you is easier than living with someone who yells at you and berates you. Being with someone who is honest and keeps agreements is easier than being with someone who lies and is unpredictable.
But even in the toughest of times, we can choose thoughts that empower us and take us in the direction we want to go. One woman shared with us that her 92-year-old father is a delight to be around because he is always positive and upbeat. At a doctor’s appointment, where he was being praised for his good mood and remarkable health, he jokingly said, “We were too poor when I was a kid. We couldn’t afford negativity.”
It’s easy to dismiss these concepts as refrigerator-magnet wisdom of the think-positive, feel-good kind. But as illustrated above, your thoughts and conclusions directly dictate your emotions, actions and behaviors. Since we can’t stop our thoughts or conclusion-making, we have to become adept at working with our own thoughts and conclusions. Becoming aware of and shifting your beliefs and stories are a necessary component to helping you to deal with, and change, the behaviors you find hurtful or offensive in your relationship.
If you find yourself struggling, if you feel depressed or angry or anxious, if you feel disconnected in your relationship, if you feel stuck and lost in life, if you are easily triggered or set off by things your partner does or says, pay attention to the things you are saying to yourself and the mood those thoughts produce.
Get support to help you notice and shift your thinking. Learn how to change your story to one that is just as grounded in reality (we are not recommending unrealistic Pollyanna thinking here), but one that uplifts you and opens up new possibilities and courses of action.
One concrete action you can take is our virtual mini-workshop, How To Deal With Triggers. You’ll learn a step-by-step process to guide you through your triggers.
We believe relationships are meant to be an empowering, fun, passionate, safe place to grow, love, and learn. Where we get to be more of who we are, not less. We know it’s not always easy, but it can definitely be easier! With our unique and practical approach to relationship, you learn how to resolve conflicts quickly and enjoy fulfilling intimacy for the rest of your life. To learn more visit us at www.loveworkssolution.com or call us at 530-878-3893.