Recently I was speaking at a marriage conference and passed out a pair of cheap swim goggles to each couple. First I had all the men put them on and then look at their wives. It’s a pretty funny sight watching grown men try to maneuver swim goggles in an attempt to look cool. Then the women had to try them on and many were conscious of their hair and wondered why they were doing such a silly activity. After the couples had all tried them on, I said, “Part of the struggle of wearing these goggles is (1) They don’t feel natural. They are uncomfortable. (2) They need adjustment to make them fit. And (3) they require practice (in water) before they’ll work like they’re designed.”
I then asked the couples to choose a place in their bedroom where they would see those goggles when the woke up each morning (i.e., the shower, bathroom sink, toilet roll holder, etc.) to serve as a trigger to the idea of putting on positive eyewear each day, as it relates to how they “see” one another. Good marriages make daily choices to view their spouse in a more positive way. If you don’t want to drift in your marriage, you’ve got to make a daily choice to see your spouse in a positive light. This may not be natural at first (see (1) above), you’ll probably need to make some personal adjustments so you can be positive (see (2) above), and you’ll most likely have to practice (see (3) above) before positivity becomes a default response.
Once you make the bold and courageous decision to move from negativity to a more positive perspective, you will begin to see your marriage change for the better. Being positive about each other is a decision. It’s not a feeling: it’s a daily decision. It’s a powerful choice that you have the authority to make. Go ahead. Put on the positive goggles and choose the positive.
(Adapted from the upcoming book, The First Few Years of Marriage, by Jim Burns and Doug Fields.)