Marriage is amazing! Of course, all over the internet, you can find articles aplenty on how difficult it can also be. But this article ain’t about that. In fact, this is about couples killing the “ANTs” in their relationship. What are the “ANTs?” Though it’s been around awhile, it’s a phrase I recently got hip to. It stands for “automatic negative thoughts.” Whether in marriage or life in general, we all have these negative thoughts that try to creep in and jack things up in our relationships. In fact, our marriages get in trouble and become the devil’s playground when we allow the ANTs to take over. One strategy to combat this is to pray, meditate, and exercise your way into a healthy marriage. But, before I tell you how to do that, let’s identify what some of these ANTs could be.
Scenario 1: Your husband doesn’t compliment you on the eggs you made for breakfast. ANT: “He must not like my cooking.”
Scenario 2: You work a 14 hour day only to come home to your wife complaining you still haven’t fixed the dishwasher. ANT: “She doesn’t appreciate how hard I work.”
By allowing these ANTs to enter your mind, you starve your relationship of the real nourishment it needs to thrive. In order to turn things around and get rid of the ANTs, it’s important to nourish your heart, mind, and spirit. Through prayer, meditation, and exercise, you become healthy and give your marriage a chance to become healthy as well.
It’s often said that the first thing you should do when you awake is to give thanks. A prayer of thanksgiving for the spouse you have chosen is a great first step towards a healthy marriage. Thanksgiving helps you focus on the good in your partner. It also serves as a reminder of why you fell in love in the first place. Simply put, giving thanks in the morning prevents you from giving up throughout the day.
Peace and quiet. That is the beginning and the end of the meditation process. No television. No shouting kids. No heated discussions with anyone. It’s your time to calm your mind and bring it into the alpha state. In alpha state, your mind is relaxed and you become more open and less critical. What marriage wouldn’t benefit from spouses who are more open and less critical? No special technique is necessary. You only need a discipline and determination to let your mind be free from fear, stress, and anxiety…and any ANT that tries to get in your way.
When you exercise your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are what take us to our happy place. I ask again, what marriage wouldn’t benefit from spouses who take time each day to go to their happy place? But, not only are you becoming happier, you are becoming stronger. Physically, your health is improving and you are taking pride in your appearance. This helps to boost your confidence and confidence travels. It travels across your smile. It travels in your walk. It travels in your outlook. Take the time each day to get physical and see the improvements it brings to your relationship with your spouse. By the way, lovemaking is also a great way to get exercise. I’m just saying.
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A healthy marriage requires a healthy heart, mind, and spirit. By paying attention to these areas, you allow yourself to become more balanced and better prepared to handle married life as it happens. Will there still be drama? Yes. Will there still be disagreements? Of course. But, by taking these preemptive steps, you learn how to deal with the ANTs before the ANTs deal a blow to your relationship.
BMWK, are you ready to pray, meditate, and exercise your way out of the ANTs and into a healthy marriage?