Arguments in a marriage are a dime a dozen. However, in the course of such arguments, especially ones that turn heated, negative thoughts toward your spouse may subtly worm their way into your mind. These thoughts have the potential to hurt you both, especially when they are actualised through your words. Not surprisingly, such negativity may seep into your day-to-day communications.
Identifying some of such thoughts here may help you both find ways to keep them at bay in your lives and relationships:
“I don’t think he/she loves me anymore.”
Worrying incessantly about this can cause you to spiral into a vicious cycle of negativity. The situation may worsen if you start badgering your spouse about it, tiring him/her out in the process or even planting seeds of doubts. Why not try saying a simple “I love you” or kissing each other when you meet after work, etc.? These affectionate displays will reinforce the emotional connection between you both.
“Argh, he/she is always (negative character trait).”
Generalising your spouse’s actions can build judgmental thoughts about your him/her. This can dangerously lead you to make an unnecessary attack on his/her character. Engage instead in a more constructive feedback session where you zero in on the issue at hand and express how you felt about it. Offering a suggested solution with your involvement will take the blame away from him/her, and make it feel like a team effort.
I don’t have to tell him/her this. He/She should know.”
Pair that thought up with contemptuous non-verbal actions, such as eye rolling and the silent treatment, and your behavior will leave him/her further confused. It’d not be fair to expect your spouse to know exactly what has ticked you off, and to make matters worse, he/she may start to form inaccurate conclusion about you. To give your spouse the benefit of doubt, check with him/her the intent behind the action before working toward mending the mismatched expectations.
“What happened to us?”
While it’s perfectly alright to reminisce the past, lamenting over how your marriage at present is not like what it was in the beginning will only invite discontentment and disillusionment. Rather, see it from an angle that both of you have become much wiser and more matured over the years, and will continue growing together in the years ahead.
Your spouse’s supposed lack of follow through or response may understandably trigger frustrations in you. However, most of the time, these frustrations manifest in the form of scathing words of admonition, which will cause the one on the receiving end to shut down, stop listening or get defensive. This will in turn lead to a war of words while the real issue is still unresolved. Instead, try explaining your reason for what you are feeling, and offer specific actions/options that will take guesswork off his/her plate.
“I had enough. I wonder why I married him/her in the first place.”
Even if you don’t mean it, acting on this flash of thought may cause hurtful words to rear their ugly head in the face of heated arguments—aimed to inflict the ultimate pain on your spouse. In such situations, it’d be better for both parties to cool off separately, and convene to resolve the issue rationally and amicably when both parties have calmed down.
Seeing the potentially negative impact these thoughts can have on marriages, it’d be to both parties’ benefit to first assess the current situation and feelings, and determine what you wish to convey about an issue before bringing it up to your spouse. After all, communication is not just “speaking” but “understanding”.
Also, as effective communication doesn’t happen overnight, do allow time for you and your spouse to continue building and bridging the understanding between you both, and thus, cementing your marriage.