I recently came to a revelation in my own life: I’ve been crossing the threshold of my home expecting to get into it with my wife. And although I have no tool of measurement to gauge how often this was occurring, I can say it was happening a lot. I was fearing aka expecting aka having faith in a negative outcome. I realized that this kind of behavior is what happens when you start treating your spouse as your enemy. I knew immediately that something had to change.
What Happens When You Start Treating Your Spouse as Your Enemy
In this article:
- Expectations vs Reality
- A Positive Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste
- Back to the Beginning
- Rethinking Your Spouse
Expectations vs Reality
Does any of this sound sadly familiar?
- When you approach home from a long day’s work, you prepare yourself for the nag-fest that is waiting for you behind your front door.
- You really need to talk but you no longer want to try talking to him because in the back of your mind you know: he’s either not going to get it, he won’t care, or he simply won’t listen at all. So you just keep it bottled up inside and resent him for not meeting your needs.
- You just know (because you know each other so well) that if you spend too much time with him or her sooner or later an argument is bound to happen
Reality: We design and live our lives based on our expectations and beliefs, both positive and negative.
A Positive Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste
I consider myself to be a pretty positive person. I work on it daily. Many of us who strive to be positive believe that from the time we wake up our day will be blessed. We start off the day by giving thanks and praise for all that we have. Then, we often wrap up our affirmations with a declaration that no one and nothing is going to steal our joy.
It is biblical to have faith that no weapon formed against you will prosper, but it is 100% human to condition your mind to believe that people are out to take from you.
For all your positive energy, you remain on edge because you expect the worst from others. This sometimes includes your spouse. Inadvertently you create the very situations you are trying to avoid by expecting and then reflecting them. If you go into every situation believing your spouse can do no right, he or she never will in your eyes, even when they do. Your spouse is then doomed to be in the box you have designed for them.
Back to the Beginning
To get over this hump I had to think back to when I first met my wife. Back then I referred to her as “my electricity.” I would run to the phone when I knew she was calling. When we were meeting up to go on a date I anticipated nothing but good times. Even if our time together was less than originally desired, I didn’t hold it against her. I just looked forward to our next time together.
From here I decided to stop, cold turkey, anticipating friction and conflict when coming home to or meeting up with my wife. I removed from my mind the subtle but very-present ideas that she’s “out to get me” and “won’t be satisfied no matter what I do.” First, I stopped the thoughts when they began to bubble up. I then countered them with some very simple affirmations:
- I will be happy to see my wife.
- I will make her laugh.
- We will have a good time together.
Notice the shift in focus from her to me. Immediately, that lifted the pressure off of me. Amazingly, our interactions began to change for the better.
Rethinking Your Spouse
Right now you might be thinking that your spouse’s actions contribute greatly to your feelings about him or her. There is no denying that our husbands and wives have the ability to impact our lives for better or worse. But when it comes to your thinking, where should your focus be? Do you truly think you know what your spouse will do in any and all situations?
Or, should you be thinking of your spouse as your spouse? This is the person you pledged your vows to and who lit your fire. Your spouse means so much that they have the top spot in your heart. It might not happen right away, but you’ll definitely get a different set of results when you stop expecting the worst. This includes expecting the best and anticipating the worst. You must begin giving your spouse the clean slate you both deserve. I say both because you’ll also be presenting a more positive you for your spouse to interact with.
BMWK: Have you ever caught yourself thinking about your spouse worse than you would an enemy?
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on August 5, 2011, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.